The technology that powers the system belongs to Qualcomm while a tier one supplier will build it for Mercedes-Benz. This will be the first example of wireless electric vehicle charging available as a factory option.
To use the system, the S550e must simply be parked over top of a pad on the ground. Qualcomm says that it used the Formula E BMW i8 safety car to further develop and test the system, which is known as Halo. The exact efficiency for the Mercedes S550s is unknown, but the Halo setup is designed to run at about 90 percent efficiency.
A set of coils in the pad transfers the energy using a dense magnetic field and currently it runs at 3.6 kW, though Qualcomm says that more power can be transferred depending on the application, with as much as 125 kW charging being used on heavy buses. As power increases, Qualcomm also says that efficiency improves.
Qualcomm is also working on a new in-road charging system that will allow electric cars to charge while on the go. Currently, the system can send full power up to 10 inches (250 mm) away, which would cover just about every light vehicle on the road today.
Expect pricing details to be announced when the new Mercedes S550e arrives next year.