Ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show this week, Qualcomm has come out to announce that it'll be bringing its Halo wireless charging technology to the first-ever Formula E electric vehicle race next year. But before y'all get too excited, only the safety cars will be equipped with Halo for the first season, which goes from September 2014 to June 2015 in London, Rome, Berlin, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Los Angeles and many more places.
As with these safety cars plus trial vehicles from London taxi firm Addison Lee, the current-gen Halo requires electric vehicles to stay still on large charging pads, which isn't ideal for racing cars. That said, Qualcomm CMO Anand Chandrasekher told us that his folks are already looking into bringing dynamic charging to racing cars starting in the second season. In other words, these battery-powered vehicles will eventually be able to recharge while still running on the race track!
Another interesting aspect of Formula E is that unlike the traditional Formula 1, the former's lower noise pollution allows its vehicles to run through the heart of cities. But not all fun is lost, as the cars will instead have a high-pitched jet engine sound, so old-school racing fans may still approve.
Chandrasekher, who's a self-confessed auto nut, added that Qualcomm has signed up to be both a founding partner as well as a technology partner for Formula E, in order to promote sustainability. This means the company will be providing support to the race's wireless data backend for the vehicle monitoring network, as well as letting the audience follow the race on their mobile devices in real time. Naturally, Qualcomm will also be sponsoring a team, hence the above teaser photo of a Formula E car from long-time buddy Drayson Racing, who broke the EV land speed record back in June.
As for Halo's commercial availability, Chandrasekher said his company is currently still in discussion with suppliers to car manufacturers, but it won't be too long before these Halo-powered vehicles start to show up with a price tag.
"There are a few [suppliers] that are already building with our technology, so within the next few years, hopefully we'll see some of this in market," said the exec over the phone. "If you're looking for something that's not commercial but in production, the Drayson Racing cars are in production using our technology."
Exciting times for the automotive industry, but let's hope that the Stig approves as well.
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Qualcomm Becomes Founding Technology Partner of FIA Formula-E Championship
– Qualcomm Halo Technology to Help Reduce Environmental Impact in Automotive Racing –
BERLIN – Sept. 9, 2013 – Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced a multi-year agreement with Formula E Holdings (FEH) to become an Official Founding Technology Partner of the FIA Formula E Championship, the new international championship featuring racing cars powered exclusively by electric energy. The agreement will allow Qualcomm and FEH to showcase mobile and Electronic Vehicle technologies globally through an exhilarating sport and demonstrate how current and future generations all over the world can benefit from wireless, sustainable technology on- and-off the track.
As a leader in the mobile space, Qualcomm will advise FEH in their quest to incorporate new and more sustainable technologies into the racing series. As a start, Qualcomm Halo™ Wireless Electric Vehicle Charging (WEVC) technology will be adapted to be fitted into the 2014/2015 FIA Formula E Championship safety cars so they can be wirelessly charged. The wireless charging system will be made available to the race cars from season two. Qualcomm Halo WEVC technology uses resonant magnetic induction to transfer energy between a ground-based pad and a charging pad on the electric vehicle. Drivers simply park over the base pad and charging commences automatically. As part of its advisory role, Qualcomm will evaluate the connectivity and mobile technology of each of the ten venue cities around the world, providing solutions to help enhance the spectator experience around the circuit such as live streaming to fans, video gaming and social media.
"Our collaboration with the FIA Formula E Championship is not just a great opportunity to showcase Qualcomm technologies, such as our Halo WEVC system, but to evaluate and improve wireless connectivity and EV technology across the globe, especially in the host cities," said Anand Chandrasekher, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Qualcomm. "We hope this arrangement will leverage mobile technology to enhance the fan experience and impact the global movement toward more sustainable living."
"The FIA Formula-E Championship is going to become a showcase for electric vehicle technology," said Alejandro Agag, chief executive officer of Championship Promoter Formula E Holdings. "As the global leader in mobile technology, Qualcomm's involvement will not only help us develop new advances in EV tech, but also to provide our fans and the world's EV community with the best race viewing experience possible. New technologies in connectivity, wireless and mobile fit perfectly with a Championship open to new technology, not only for the cars but for everything around the venue."
For more information, please visit http://www.fiaformulae.com/
About Qualcomm Incorporated
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm's licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm's engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm's website , OnQ blog , Twitter and Facebook pages.
About FIA Formula E Championship
Formula E is a brand new FIA championship featuring Formula cars powered exclusively by electric energy. It represents a vision for the future of the motor industry over the coming decades, serving as a framework for research and development around the electric vehicle, accelerating general interest in these cars and promoting sustainability. Commencing in September 2014, the Championship will compete in the heart of 10 of the world's leading cities - including London, Beijing and Los Angeles - racing around their iconic landmarks. For the inaugural season, 10 teams, each with two drivers, will go head-to-head creating a unique and exciting racing series designed to appeal to a new generation of motorsport fan. Operating as an 'open championship', the series gives car manufacturers and constructors the opportunity to showcase their electrical energy innovations in a racing environment, designing cars to the technical specifications set out by the FIA. www.fiaformulae.com .