WiTricity expands wireless charging with Qualcomm deal

Watertown-based WiTricity, which makes wireless battery charging systems for electric cars, is acquiring the wireless charging technology of San Diego’s Qualcomm. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.

WiTricity, a spinoff of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, makes a system that lets a driver park an electric vehicle on top of a pad which radiates a magnetic field capable of charging the car’s battery, without the need to plug a cable into a charger. Qualcomm, best known as a leading maker of chips for cellphones, developed a smilar system called Halo.

WiTricity chief executive Alex Gruzen said the competition between the two companies led carmakers to hold back on electric car development until an industry-wide standard emerged.

“I think there have been a whole slew of automakers who have just stayed on the sidelines,” Gruzen said. “The tension was just slowing the whole market down.”

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