Major car makers like BMW and Volkswagen are investing substantial amounts of money into inductive charging technology that promises to make the charging cord a relic of the past. An aftermarket company named Plugless beat them all to the punch when it launched a wireless charger for the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt, and the slow-selling Cadillac ELR. Now, Virginia-based Plugless is turning its attention to the Tesla Model S.
The wireless charger consists of a parking pad that can be installed either in a garage or on a driveway, sensors that help the driver position the S directly above the pad, and an adapter that’s bolted under the car. Designed to work between 0 and 122 degrees Fahrenheit, the pad can be either plugged into a 50-amp circuit or hardwired into a house’s electrical system. Either way, the adapter can be installed without making any software modifications to the Model S, and it doesn’t alter the sedan’s ability to charge using a conventional cord.
The 7.2kW charger provides approximately 20 miles of range for every hour of charging. In other words, it takes eight hours to top up a Model S equipped with a relatively small 60kWh battery pack, 10 hours to fully charge a midrange 70kWh model, and 12 hours to top up an 85kWh pack. It’s worth noting that the wireless charger is only compatible with the rear-wheel drive Model S, though Plugless is currently developing a charger for the all-wheel drive 70D, 90D, and P90D models. Similarly, the company plans on offering a wireless charger for the Roadster, for the recently-launched Model X, and for the upcoming Model 3.
Tesla owners looking to go hands-free can reserve Plugless’ wireless charger by making a $244 deposit online. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in April, but the company hasn’t revealed the total cost of the system yet. For what it’s worth, a wireless charger for a Nissan Leaf retails for $1,540.