Hertz Tests Wireless Electric Car Charging

Plugless Power is currently a pilot program in its trial phase

Published: 13-Feb-2012

Electric cars need to be charged – they run on rechargeable batteries. But taking a long cord and plugging it into an actual outlet seems so… so… 20th-century. Enter Nissan and its wireless charging stations, soon followed by Infiniti and Karabag. Car rental company Hertz is now joining the ranks of those involved in wireless EV charging, partnering with Evatran for its fleet of EVs and PHVs.

Hertz is the first company to make EVs and PHVs available for rental (which is great for the consumer, since it’s much cheaper to rent an electric car and drive it for a day as a test than to lease one for a month or actually buy one). Customers in the U.S. (New York, DC, and San Francisco), the U.K. (London), and China (Shanghai) can all get electric vehicles from Hertz now, and customers in London can rent electric bicycles!

Plugs? We Don’t Need Plugs!

The EVs, of course, need a charging network, and that’s where Evatran comes in. Evatran is a Virginia-based company making charging systems for electric vehicles, and the product Hertz is using is called Plugless Power (yep, we’ve covered it a couple times). It uses inductive power transfer (similar to Nissan’s wireless system) and is completely hands-free.

Plugless Power is currently a pilot program in its trial phase, the first of its kind in the world. The trial will follow Hertz (and five other participants) as they test Plugless Power on their vehicles. During the trial, Hertz will be expected to provide feedback – how the product is used on a daily basis, how the user interface does (or doesn’t!) work, and any other issues (good or bad) that may arise.

All installation work is scheduled to be finished this month, after which the trial may commence. Hertz and Evatran hope the pilot program will help establish the US as an EV market leader. I also hope the trial goes well; EVs have the potential to be much, much greener than almost any other type of transportation, and anything that goes well for electric cars is probably okay in my book.

More information about Evatran and the Plugless Power trial are available on the Plugless Power website. Questions or opinions? Let us know in the comments below!

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