A few weeks ago, WiTricity announced that, with ABT e-Line, we will be bringing wireless EV charging to the streets of Europe. With extensive experience working with the Volkswagen Group (VW), ABT e-Line will initially upgrade the VW ID.4 to support wireless charging from WiTricity, with availability targeted for early 2024. The company plans to expand to additional EV models thereafter. Many people outside Europe aren’t familiar with ABT and ABT e-Line, so we grabbed some coffee and spoke with ABT to learn more. Here’s some insight into our conversation.
For people who aren’t familiar with ABT, can you tell us about your mission?
ABT is the driving force in tuning vehicles from the Volkswagen Group. With more than 125 years of experience, we bring out the best in our vehicles; mobility and agility are as deeply rooted in our DNA as progress and innovation. This applies to all our business fields, from motorsport to electro mobility.
Can you explain ABT e-Line and share why it was created?
With our products and new developments, we always operate at the cutting edge of technology and continuously invest in innovative projects. This is how the ABT e-Line was created more than a decade ago, wherein we are driving the development of electro mobility – especially in the area of utility vehicles. In this context, we have specialized technologically in the integration and modification of alternative drives. The commitment of ABT e-Line ranges from converted electrically powered commercial vehicles and the development of hydrogen fuel cells to the development and production of wireless charging solutions. At ABT e-Line, we are making our contribution to more climate-friendly mobility and supporting the trend towards CO2-free mobility with innovative aftersales products.
What are some of your favorite aftermarket upgrades that you’ve done?
One of the biggest projects so far was the electrification of over 4,300 Volkswagen Transporter vans, which are now powered by electricity instead of diesel. Another milestone was the conversion of a Volkswagen Crafter from battery-electric drive to fuel cell drive.
Who is your audience?
Primarily, they are end customers who are keen on having an individual and exclusive car. But they also include fleet customers in the utility vehicle sector.
Are ABT solutions available outside of Europe?
ABT solutions are offered by partners outside of Europe.
Why is wireless charging a route you’re investing in?
There is still room for improvement in the charging infrastructure for e-mobility; in fact, for many customers this is an obstacle to getting involved with e-mobility. In addition to performance, appearance, and high-quality materials for the vehicles, new technologies and approaches are especially required. We see wireless charging as a great enhancement with which we can expand the manufacturer’s offering and simplify the charging process for customers.
What made WiTricity the right fit to partner with?
WiTricity has been the undisputed technology leader in this segment for over a decade and is therefore absolutely the right partner for ABT. “ABT e-Line’s strong track record in customizing vehicles to meet the stringent demands of discerning customers fits perfectly with the leading wireless charging technology from WiTricity,” says Eric Plekkepoel, CEO of ABT e-Line.
Your plans for wirelessly charging the VW ID.4 are very exciting – can you share more about what people can expect with this partnership?
In the next few months, together with WiTricity, we want to develop a production-ready wireless charging solution for the VW ID.4, which should be ready for the market by the beginning of next year. In addition, we will integrate this technology into our service network.
How will wireless charging differentiate the ID.4 from other EVs?
Our system will be the first wireless EV charging solution for the ID.4. In the future, customers will be able to use it for contactless charging at home and later on, away from home as well, without the need for inconvenient cables. This will be an additional option, because the inlet for conventional power “refueling” via cable will still be available.
With WiTricity’s interoperability, do you have plans to provide wireless charging to other vehicles?
After the VW ID.4, ABT e-Line is planning to convert other vehicles such as the Volkswagen ID. Buzz, Audi e-Tron GT, and Porsche Taycan to this practical and uncomplicated charging solution.
Why do you think consumers want wireless charging?
Products that make our lives easier and relieve us of unnecessary tasks in our stressful daily lives are a driver of innovation and growth in all industries. We see automated charging as an important step in making electric vehicles even more popular.
We look forward to working with ABT e-Line to bring wireless EV charging to the streets of Europe … and beyond!
WiTricity and ABT e-Line to Bring Wireless EV Charging to the Streets of Europe