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Nissan, Daimler, other manufacturers working on wireless charging for electric vehicles

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Nissan recently showed a wireless inductive charging system that it claims can charge cars in the same amount of time as a conventional plug. There's also a limited trial program in the U.S. of a different system called Plugless Power, which retrofits a wireless charging system into current Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf vehicles. Daimler has recently conducted successful field tests of its own wireless charging system.

Nissan Leaf Wireless Charging
Nissan Leaf Wireless Charging

Wireless charging is a major goal for electric vehicle manufacturers, and Nissan is no exception: recently it showed off a new inductive charging system that's vastly improved over similar systems we've seen before — Nissan says it can charge the car just as fast as plugging it in. That's what Nissan claims anyway; we won't find out until 2013 when it's launched, and you'll need a new Leaf to get it, as current models can't be retrofitted.

For those who can't wait, Plugless Power is expanding the wireless charging trial it started with Google in early 2011. Six participants, ranging from car rental agencies to corporate campuses, will install the system in Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf vehicles beginning in early 2012, with plans to expand with a second phase in the third quarter of 2012.

And of couse, Nissan's not the only car manufacturer working on wireless inductive charging. Daimler has recently conducted successful field tests of a similar system that also charges cars while parked over an inductive plate. Although the technology may not be compatible with other electric vehicles due to different battery types, there's still hope of avoiding a Betamax-VHS situation: Auto Express reports that Nissan's currently working with Toyota to standardize induction systems. In the meantime, check out a video of Nissan's technology below.