Imagine a car blasting from zero to 60mph in roughly three seconds. What does that car look like? What does it sound like? Are you imagining an electric vehicle (EV)? Probably not.
Qualcomm wants to help transform everyone’s perception of EVs. Today, Qualcomm announced an agreement with Formula E Holdings (FEH) to become an Official Founding Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship, the new international championship featuring race cars powered exclusively by electric energy.
You’re thinking, “wait a minute, isn’t Qualcomm about mobile technologies?” Yes, it is. But “mobile” goes beyond smartphones and tablets. In 2007, Qualcomm begin experimenting with wireless charging for consumer electronic devices. This interest evolved, which resulted in Qualcomm Halo Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology.
The company’s activities were timely. According to a 2012 report from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, “Air pollution is set to become the world’s top environmental cause of premature mortality, overtaking dirty water and lack of sanitation.”
And considering the growth of the automobile industry and the growing number of car owners in emerging markets such as China, EVs might be the best solution to reducing pollution. Indeed, the World Health Organization concluded recently that, “Electric vehicles offer a number of advantages, such as low noise levels and virtually no toxic emissions during operation.”
Qualcomm believes that Formula E is the perfect showcase for the public to see cars that are not only environmentally friendly, but attractive, fast and able to perform at the highest levels and, in turn, spur awareness and interest.
Just as important, Qualcomm believes Formula E is an ideal platform for mobile technologies such as Halo. So what’s Qualcomm doing as a founding partner? Next year—the inaugural year of the Formula E Championship— the race safety cars will be equipped with Qualcomm Halo, enabling the drivers to simply park over a ground-based pad and charge the car automatically—nothing to plug in and no charge cables to get tangled or store. Moreover, the cars don’t even have to physically touch the pads nor do they have to be centered over the pads. The elimination of charging cables and alignment are perfect for the racing environment, where the ability to quickly enter and exit a pit area is critical. In 2015, Qualcomm Halo WEVC will be considered for use with the race cars.
The promise of Formula E is that technology developed in these very sophisticated race cars will soon trickle down into the EVs available to us, everyday consumers. For those of you that think auto racing is a waste of time, consider that without it, we would not have modern tires, disc brakes, suspension and more.
Thus far, 10 rounds of racing have been planned and candidate city centers have been selected including Los Angeles, USA; Beijing, China; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Rome, Italy and others. It’s no coincidence that the cities chosen would benefit the most from environmentally friendly cars. It truly sets the stage for “mobility in cities of the future.”
Watch the announcement of Los Angeles, California being added to the Formula E schedule.