An Interview with Alex Gruzen, CEO of WiTricity

Written by, Anna Sheppard, Founder of Watts Up Cleantech

How would you describe what WiTricity does to a family member who doesn’t work in cleantech or in the automotive industry?

We are getting rid of the last cord in people’s lives, which is the power cord. We enable electric cars to charge without having to plug them in. You park it, and it charges. We think wireless charging is an important step to increase electric vehicle (EV) adoption. Anybody who has already bought an EV has to be considered an early adopter. In the United States, we’re up to about 2% EV penetration. In other countries with more government support, whether that’s Norway or China, adoption has reached much higher levels. In the States and in Europe and in Japan, it’s still a small percentage. For the environment and for the world, we need to electrify. I came out of the consumer electronics indsutry, so I know that changing consumer behavior is difficult. Having an EV requires a new behavior. Instead of being reactive when your gas tank is empty and going to a gas station, with an EV, it becomes a daily consideration. As a consumer, I have to be proactive. Have I charged enough to do the things I need to do today? Do I have extra charge in case some things come up? That is causing anxiety for people. It’s a total behavioral shift. Wireless charging really delivers the promise of the EV experience being better than the gasoline experience. WiTricity lets you park and charge. I don’t have to worry about plugging it in later if I had a kid in the backseat or bags of groceries to take in. Charging starts happening in the background, which we think makes EV ownership more attractive for the every day consumer.

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