Evatran's Plugless Power gives your wheels a wireless proximity-based charge

Trading gas nozzles for electric sockets may be the green thing to do -- in more ways than one -- but wouldn't plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles be that much sweeter if you could just forget about the plug? That's what Evatran is trying to do with its Plugless Power technology, shown off at Plug-In 2010 in San Jose, which charges your car automatically when you pull up to the company's specially-designed curb. The "station block" above is a wireless induction charger (yes, a car-sized Powermat) that beams electricity to a shoebox-sized device you mount to the undercarriage of your vehicle, magnetically detecting and gravitating towards said shoebox even if you park somewhat crooked. The system presently works with 80 percent efficiency when firing electrons across a two-inch gap (engineers are shooting for 90 percent by the time it hits production) but of course the base station itself doesn't get power from the ether -- it requires one of the company's own Level 2 wired chargers (and compatible wiring) to run. Should your residence or place of business be equipped, the 240 volt towers will set you back $3,245 this December, and the proximity charger will be available to early adopters in Q2 2011 (we're hearing April) for the bargain price of $800.