It looks like wireless charging is becoming a thing.

I broke the story that the next generation of the Prius Plug-In (due in 2016) will recharge wirelessly with technology from WiTricity, and now the Infiniti LE is heading for the market, likely with that same ability.

The LE is a fancy version of the Nissan Leaf, first shown back in 2012 with wireless as an integral part of the package. It was slated for production, and then pulled by company CEO Johan de Nysschen (who told me the LE was a low priority). But de Nysschen is headed for Cadillac, and the word now is that it’s back on the schedule.

Wireless charging underneath the Infiniti LE. (Photo: Infiniti)

The wireless charger is underneath the Infiniti LE. (Photo: Infiniti)

Since the LE is an upmarket car, it’s got to do more than the Leaf. And the enhancements are said to include a next-generation battery pack (yielding more range) and a 100-kilowatt electric motor (in place of the 80-kilowatt unit in the Leaf). For electrics, wireless is definitely a plus. It means no more fussing with charging cords. The challenge for these systems has been keeping electric losses down and finding an easy way to align transmitter and receiver. WiTricity's resonance charging allows plenty of leeway in alignment.

Kyle Bazemore, an Infiniti spokesman, confirmed to me that something’s coming, though it’s a bit vague:

Infiniti will indeed have an electric vehicle in our lineup as part of the company’s long-term, corporate commitment to zero emission innovation. A premium electric sedan remains an important element of our plan once the technology is ready to provide the performance parameters that Infiniti customers expect. We do not have any timing regarding the introduction of this vehicle, nor have we any announcements about that. Any reports indicating otherwise are speculation.
There’s no guarantee that Infiniti will include the wireless charging on the LE, says Bazemore. "We did show the Infiniti LE Concept, which had wireless charging," he said. "But nothing further to state about production plans." However, one inside source says that the LE definitely will have wireless charging. "They're working on it," he said.

Nissan has done some work with WiTricity technology, and the company has shown prototypes of a great automated parking solution that includes wireless. Here’s a video on that:

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Jim Motavalli ( @jmotavalli ) writes about cars, technology and the environmental world to anyone curious enough to ask.

Infiniti's plans for a high-end electric are back on track
The Japanese luxury automaker first announced — then withdrew — the LE electric, but now there are hints that it's back on the schedule.