No cables needed: BMW and Daimler working on wireless charging technology for EVs

With the help of BMW and Daimler, electric vehicles are taking the next step toward worry-free ownership.

The German automakers recently announced a joint effort to develop a wireless charging system for the i3 electric vehicle and i8 plug-in hybrid.

EVs don’t need oil changes, filter replacements, or emissions testing, so they’re already extremely convenient to own. If the inductive wireless charging technology is viable, EV owners won’t even need to worry about refueling.

BMW and Daimler’s charging tech works in the same way wireless cell phone chargers do, just on a larger scale. An alternating magnetic field transmits energy between two sets of coils: one mounted onto the car’s parking area (usually a garage floor), and a secondary coil on the vehicle itself.

The array transmits energy at a charging rate of 3.6 kilowatts, which, according to BMW, is enough to fully charge an i8 in under two hours. The German engineers predict they can increase that rate to 7.0 kW in the future.

The circular design of the coils comes in a compact, lightweight package that is equal parts subtle and slick. The floor-mounted baseplate will function even when exposed to rain and snow, and the car’s receiver coil can be activated with the push of a button.

To keep the neighborhood cats safe and grounded, the current is automatically shut off if any foreign bodies are detected. BMW allows users to monitor the charging process with the i Wallbox and accompanying smartphone app.

As always, BMW strives to be an innovator. In May, the German company announced a solar-powered carport that would allow i3 and i8 owners to charge their vehicles easily and conveniently at home.

The i Solar Concept gathers energy from the sun and funnels it into the customer’s car. If the vehicle is charged, owners can siphon excess power into their residence. The carport is even made from green materials like bamboo and carbon fiber, making the energy source as sustainable as the cars themselves.


2020 Kia Soul and Soul EV continue to think inside the box

The 2020 Kia Soul is the third generation of Kia's boxy curiosity. The Soul maintains its signature look, but gets tech and powertrain upgrades. The all-electric Soul EV returns as well.

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.

Here are 20 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up while on the go (or for some great small gift ideas), we've rounded up 20 must-have gadgets. You'll find everything from a mini gaming controller to a folding Bluetooth keyboard.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.

Citroën says you could drive its tiny Ami One electric car without a license

Citroën's Ami One concept car is an electric vehicle that's as cute as it is compact. The miniature motor only has a top speed of 28 mph, so the French automaker imagines it as a shareable runaround for short drives.

Arizona city slammed with $10M lawsuit over fatal Uber autonomous car accident

The family of Elaine Herzberg, the woman struck and killed by one of Uber's self-driving prototypes, has filed a $10 million lawsuit against the city of Tempe, Arizona. They claim Herzberg jaywalked because she was confused by a brick…

Mercedes lets the sun shine in one last time with SLC Final Edition convertible

The Mercedes-Benz SLC convertible sports car is going out of production. Launched in 1996 as the SLK, the model has been a fixture in the Mercedes-Benz lineup across three generations.