ZTE has turned its attention to the electric vehicle market with plans to invest CNY1.5 billion ($240 million) in wireless charging technology for public transportation in China this year and at least CNY2 billion in 2016.
Speaking at ZTE’s China New Year media event in Hong Kong today, ZTE’s VP of corporate strategy, George Sun, said the company has signed agreements with more than 20 local authorities to provide the technology as well funding for wireless charging stations for city buses.
Sun said three major cities have announced pre-commercial trials for the charging technology, but trials are being carried out in as many as 22 major cities. Each trial typically involves one or two bus lines in a city and runs for three to four months.
The trials started in a number of cities in Q4 and more have kicked off this year.
ZTE is pushing for the wireless charging standard to be approved at the city and provincial level this year, but doesn’t expect a national standard to be approved until next year.
Reuters notes that wireless charging technology saves space, allowing governments to install it in bus terminals or car parks, although the costs for wireless equipment are higher than traditional charging facilities.
Buses only need to re-charge at terminals at the end of their routes. Charging takes 5 to 10 minutes. Buses generally have 200kW capacity lithium batteries and the stations can charge at 1kW per minute.
ZTE is supplying the entire charging system – from the power supply to the billing system – as well as investment for the cities to build the wireless charging infrastructure. The technology works with any type of battery, Sun said.