WiTricity, the industry pioneer in efficient wireless power transfer over distance, today announced it has closed a $34 million investment round. Stage 1 Ventures led the round with participation from Air Waves Wireless Electricity and a strategic investment by Mitsubishi Corporation through its U.S. subsidiary, Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas).
The infusion of capital will enable WiTricity to continue its leading-edge wireless power platform development, expand its intellectual property portfolio, and capitalize on the commercial momentum for wireless charging for electric vehicles (EVs) and in the broader mobility market.
Policymakers around the world are committed to reducing carbon emissions and nearly every automaker is expanding their electrified vehicle roadmap. To make EVs more user-friendly and appealing to the mass market and to set a foundation for autonomous vehicles, wireless charging has emerged as a global priority among automakers. Global standards for wireless EV charging have now been published.
With WiTricity technology, charging happens automatically once the vehicle is parked without any human intervention—making EV charging hands-free and easier than refueling. WiTricity technology can power enabled EVs without sacrificing energy efficiency or speed compared to conventional plug-in chargers. Inclusive of WiTricity’s acquisition of Qualcomm Halo in early 2019, WiTricity now holds more than 1,000 patents worldwide.
Mitsubishi Corporation’s investment in WiTricity reflects an innovative vision for the future of smart cities. With support from Mitsubishi Corporation’s Urban Development Group, the corporation sees a key role for wireless charging and autonomy in the future of smart cities around the world.
This financing round comes on the heels of continued WiTricity business momentum. The company recently announced new automotive Tier 1 licensees, including Lumen Freedom. In addition, McLaren’s Speedtail Hyper-GT joins the BMW 530e iPerformance as the first commercially-available EVs equipped with wireless charging capabilities.
“The mobility industry is at a remarkable inflection point. As automakers increasingly prioritize electrification, the industry seeks to improve the EV ownership experience. Our wireless charging shifts the act of charging to the background—just park and it charges. We have been working with the automotive industry for over a decade to make this a reality,” said Alex Gruzen, CEO, WiTricity. “The new financing round validates our market position and vision for a future of wirelessly charged mobility. The expanding EV market is now ready, industry standards are set, and we’re excited to bring the wireless charging experience to customers.”
“WiTricity’s wireless charging is essential for realizing next-generation urban city and infrastructure services that capture the shift to EV / autonomous driving,” said Mitsumasa Icho, Executive Vice President, Group CEO, Urban Development Group, Mitsubishi Corporation. “In large-scale greenfield projects in ASEAN and future projects in Japan, we pursue sustainable growth of real estate value through integrating new technologies and services. We intend to capitalize on wireless charging, IoT, AI, robots and big data in the smart city by harnessing the ecosystem of our global business and partner network.”
“WiTricity is reimagining the way we move in a way that’s impossible to ignore. Wireless charging capabilities for electrified vehicles ranging in size—from scooters to cars to buses and trucks—enables vehicles that are not only better for the environment and convenient for users, but opens up the door for true autonomy and shared mobility,” said David Baum, Managing Director, Stage 1 Ventures. “Our excitement around the promise of WiTricity’s technology, their market position, and strong global team led us to our investment decision.”
Added Kenneth Horowitz of Air Waves Wireless Electricity, co-founder of the major-market cellular industry pioneer Cellular One, “WiTricity is the final step in cutting the cord.”
WiTricity is actively engaged with key standards organizations from around the world—including SAE International (which just published the J2954 wireless charging standard this month), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the China Electricity Council (CEC)—developing specifications for EV wireless charging that allow interoperability between EVs and wireless charging systems. WiTricity has declared over 200 patents as “standards-essential” to systems implementing these standards. WiTricity also worked closely with the CEC to support the ratification of the Chinese national GB standard (GuoBiao) for wireless EV charging.