Qualcomm (News - Alert) recently became the official technology partner of FIA Formula E Championship. Cars in the new classification are open-wheel and run on electricity.
The first Formula E season will begin in September 2014 and run through June 2015. So far 10 cities across the globe have been chosen to host races, including two in the U.S. -- Miami and Los Angeles.
Unlike NASCAR and the Indianapolis 500, Formula E races will be held on street circuits or courses consisting of closed streets normally used for everyday traffic.
FIA is an abbreviation of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile, a governing body that sanctions events in several different racing classes like Formula One.
Image via BBC
This is not the first time Qualcomm has been involved in professional sports. The San Diego, Calif.-based communications technology company currently has naming rights to Qualcomm Stadium, where the San Diego Chargers and San Diego State Aztecs play their home football games.
Thanks to the partnership, Qualcomm will have the opportunity to promote its Halo technology, a type of wireless electric vehicle charging (WEVC).
With WEVC, electric cars do not need cables to recharge. With magnetic induction technology all that is needed is for the car’s vehicle charging unit (VCU) to be close enough to a base charging unit (BCU), which is buried under the road surface.
BCUs make it possible to use stationary and dynamic charging. With stationary charging, a car parks over a BCU and recharges. With dynamic charging, a car drives over a road with a continuous line of BCUs that are close enough together to recharge the car as it moves. This would reduce the need for larger batteries and solve the range limitation issues many electrical vehicles have.
Dynamic charging won’t be available for Formula E cars once the inaugural season starts a year from now, but it is a goal that Qualcomm is aiming for.
Since the races will be held on normal streets, embedded BCUs designed to charge race cars on the fly would be available to regular passenger cars the rest of the year. This provides a great laboratory for testing dynamic charging under realistic conditions where it can be tweaked and adjusted for widespread use.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey