"The most vibrant WPT markets will be the contactless charging of portable and mobile equipment."
Over the next decade, the most vibrant Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) markets will involve the contactless charging of portable and mobile equipment, in particular consumer electronics and electric vehicles and this is the focus of this report. These two aspects go together because the technology is similar, some proposed standards overlap and some suppliers seek to serve both markets.
Later, this will lead to contactless power for a high proportion of static consumer, industrial and military electronics. For now, it primarily concerns wireless charging of lithium-ion batteries in portable consumer electronics and in land, water and airborne electric vehicles, particularly cars, both hybrid and pure electric. These travel considerable distances and ready availability of standard, convenient ie contactless, charging capability is key to their widespread adoption. To the user of consumer electronics, this is particularly driven by the ever greater functionality and longer hours of use of mobile phones calling for frequent charging, given that the batteries are not improving fast enough.
Consumer electronics has a very powerful driver towards contactless charging in the form of the extreme inconvenience of the proliferation of electrically charged products each with an incompatible charging power supply, three to four billion units being made every year - a potential market for wireless charging pairs of up to ten billion dollars yearly, given market growth and an allied market of wireless power to electronic and electric consumer products that do not need charging. Similarly, there is a large unmet demand for wireless charging of vehicles, so the driver avoids the inconvenience, dirtiness and danger of having to get out of the vehicle to plug in something during bad weather or dangerous neighbourhoods. Many prefer not to handle heavy electrical equipment.
Fig. 1. Global market value of the three levels of car charging station 2014
*Most at currents not yet achievable with commercial contactless charging systems.
IDTechEx forecasts the number, unit value and market value of this charging equipment, including separately the Levels 1-3 of charging speed for vehicles. The forecasts reflect a full consideration of the many market drivers. Unusually, the report evaluates the many negatives delaying market growth not just the positives that are the focus of previous reports on this subject that tend to substitute enthusiasm for reality. The technology options, suppliers and their successes and challenges, standards activities and the influence of related technologies such as metamaterials, printed electronics and printed electrics are considered. The relevant needs of the consumer packaged goods industry are considered as it becomes electronic.