Back in 2015 we took a look at Qualcomm’s Halo wireless car charging technology. It uses induction charging to top up a hybrid car’s batteries without the hassle of actually having to plug in, at roughly the same efficiency as a wired connection. Since then we’ve been wondering when we might see a Halo-equipped car reach market. Wonder no more: on Tuesday, Mercedes-Benz and Qualcomm announced that the 2017 S550e (the hybrid version of the flagship S-Class sedan) now has the option of wireless charging.
Instead of a cable for plugging one’s S550e into the wall, owners will get a charging pad for their carport or garage. Simply drive the car over the pad, and once the two halves of the charger are aligned, charging begins. It’s a 3.6kW system (Qualcomm has previously told Ars it could also work at 6.6kW) which makes it suitable for topping up the 8kWh battery in the big Benz, but as yet probably too slow for a fully electric vehicle.
As yet there’s no price on Mercedes-Benz’s website for the wireless charging option, but given the S550e’s base price of $96,600, we’re pretty sure it’ll be affordable to owners.
The company has also indicated its future includes much more electrification, showing off a concept at the Paris Motor Show called Generation EQ. That was a battery EV with 310 miles of range (500km) and a 70kWh battery, but we’re told it heralds a future sub-brand at Mercedes-Benz, the first examples of which should hit showrooms in 2019. This completes the trifecta, as both BMW and VW have also signaled a greater commitment to EVs, something that perhaps gave Germany’s Bundesrat the OK to pass a (non-binding) resolution last week that would call for an end to internal combustion engines in new passenger cars from 2030.
We can expect this technology to trickle down to cheaper hybrids in Mercedes-Benz’ line up before too long, as the S-Class has traditionally been a technology trailblazer for the marque.