“Interestingly, one of the common pieces of feedback we received related to the need to remember to plug in the EV every three days to make sure it was charged enough,” said Glenn Dahlenburg who manages Ergon’s Demand Management initiatives.

“What our customers said was valid because plug-in charging is how EV charging in Australia and elsewhere is done at the moment – the vehicles are configured so that you have to physically connect it to an energy source.

“It’s great to see that the SAE has released the wireless standard (SAE J2954) which paves the way for wireless charging at home. The standard means the various car makers can start working to include the wireless charging technology in their EVs so that cars can charge safely when connected to a wireless charger,” he said.

Wireless charging isn’t new (and not as fast as a connected charge); it’s the same principle we see with mobile technology chargers and even electric toothbrushes.  It works by applying the principles of electromagnetic induction, where a charging ‘base station’ made of wire coils creates a magnetic field as an electric current passes through it. The magnetic field can then create an electrical current in a nearby coil of wire without actually touching it.

The application to automobiles can comes in the form of a mat ‘base station’ in the home garage which acts as a charger. When a vehicle is parked over it the charging can happen.

According to the SAE: “Standardized Wireless Power Transfer (WPT), through wireless charging, allows the BEV/ PHEV customer an automated and more convenient and alternative to plug-in (conductive) charging. Essentially the customer simply needs to park into a SAE J2954 compatible parking space (e.g., residential garage or parking structure) in order to charge the vehicle”.

“We’re likely to see more overseas developments flow onto our shores in the EV space in the future and this standard is just part of the evolution,” Glenn said.

“Advances in wireless charging will make EVs even more competitive against petrol-driven vehicles and that will have implications for utilities including Ergon.”

Related to this, Ergon Energy recently said it was bringing the electric car super highway another step closer to customers in Queensland by mapping its network for EV charging stations from Toowoomba to Cairns .

According to the online tech magazine GizMag it was the SAE J1772 standard that created an industry standard for plug-in charging which has been adopted by a large number of automakers.

“The TIR J2954 wireless standard has co-signers that include Daimler (BMW), Fiat-Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Toyota. Those co-signers make up the bulk of the plug-in vehicles being produced today.

Several Tier 1 original equipment manufacturers such as Delphi, LG, Panasonic, TDK, and more have also signed onto the new SAE guidelines. Manufacturers of plug-in systems for buses, such as Volvo, BYD, and Proterra, are also co-signers,” GizMag reported.

Ergon's EV trial

Ergon Energy ran trials in Townsville over an 18 month period between 2012 and 2013. It aimed to understand customer acceptance of electric vehicles (EVs) and the eco system that supports them, including chargers, electricity tariffs, and the EVs themselves.

Trial participants in inner and outer suburbs - Mt Low and Mysterton respectively - used Mitsubishi i-Miev EVs for personal use and in some cases replaced their six cylinder and four-wheel-drive vehicles. Specialised charging equipment was installed and charging patterns and electricity usage monitored as part of the trial.