WPC To Establish Standards For Rapidly Expanding Light Electric Vehicle Sector

1 September 2023

The Wireless Power Consortium (WPC), a renowned global standards development organization responsible for shaping wireless power standards, is shifting its focus towards the burgeoning Light Electric Vehicle (LEV) market. The objective is to establish a new wireless charging standard that caters to the evolving needs of both consumers and manufacturers, prioritizing enhanced safety and convenience.

WPC recently unveiled its Qi2 standard for mobile devices and is scheduled to introduce the Ki standard for cordless kitchen appliances in 2024. With the growing popularity of electric bicycles (eBikes) and electric scooters, coupled with the absence of a universal global charging standard for their rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, WPC recognizes an opportunity to leverage its expertise. The aim is to create a universal wireless charging standard that not only ensures safety but also delivers a seamless and interoperable charging experience.

Paul Struhsaker, Executive Director of the Wireless Power Consortium, emphasizes that the absence of a charging standard in this sector can result in subpar user experiences and significant safety concerns, including the risk of fires. Standards such as Qi2 and Ki offer consumers the assurance that their devices are not only safe but also efficient and compatible with other brands. Consumer demand for convenience and efficiency is driving the push for universal standards, as these standards provide a foundation for safety and reliability across various products, from mobile devices to Light Electric Vehicles (LEVs).

Many eBikes and eScooters are powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, the same type of batteries found in smartphones and laptops. However, these batteries can malfunction when exposed to damage, overcharging, or extreme temperature conditions. Batteries used in LEVs are considerably larger, up to 100 times in size, compared to those in personal electronic devices, presenting a greater risk.

The popularity of LEVs experienced a surge during the pandemic, with reduced prices making them more accessible. Nevertheless, inconsistent manufacturing standards and the availability of after-market chargers that may not be compatible with the battery pose an increasing risk, leading to more incidents of fires and injuries. The establishment of a universal wireless charging standard for LEVs aims to mitigate these risks and enhance the overall user experience.