News December 22 2020

Voi partners with Imperial College spin-out Bumblebee Power to enable wireless charging of micro-mobility vehicles

The current buzz at Voi is our new partnership with Bumblebee Power, a spin-out company commercialising wireless power technology born out of research at Imperial College’s Wireless Power Lab in its Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. As an industrial partner, Voi is collaborating with Bumblebee on the testing trials of its leading-edge technology that enables efficient wireless power transfer for micro-mobility vehicles, including e-scooters and e-bikes.

Voi and Bumblebee Power’s joint initiatives aim to improve Voi’s understanding of wireless charging technologies for its e-scooters; develop plans for the deployment of charging pads in cities; and enable Bumblebee to test their technology on Voi e-scooters.

The first project looks at how electric transmit pads can alleviate the infrastructural challenges cities face in implementing easy-to-maintain electric charging hubs. Bumblebee has retrofitted a Voi e-scooter with an ultra-thin, lightweight receiving unit to demonstrate its cutting-edge wireless charging technology. A thin, PCB- based coil and control unit is embedded in a pad, connected to the grid, which transfers the required power wirelessly to the receiving unit in the scooter. The transmit pad can be attached to the ground, so it can be more easily integrated into micro-mobility infrastructure, such as parking docks or zones.

Bumblebee’s wireless solution complements our existing charging technologies, such as battery-swapping, and enables a host of other operational and environmental benefits, including:

  • keeping the scooter fleet active on the road for longer;
  • charging efficiency equivalent to wired charging;
  • reducing the need to constantly transport scooters to and from warehouses;
  • enabling e-scooter operations in more remote areas without easy access to warehouses, increasing access to service; and
  • incentivising users to park e-scooters in designated areas.

Bumblebee Power wireless charging technology also offers three times the wireless range, has three times the tolerance to misalignment and is three times lighter weight than current solutions.

“Voi is constantly on the lookout for innovative solutions that will accelerate the micro-mobility revolution,” said Fredrik Hjelm, CEO and co-founder of Voi. “As more cities adopt electric vehicles and micro-mobility transport in response to growing concerns over air pollution and congestion, the need for efficient, sustainable, and scalable operations becomes ever greater. We are proud to support the research and development that will further these goals by working with a world-leading institution such as Imperial College and Bumblebee Power. We’re aiming for long-term charging solutions that secure the future of micro-mobility.”

We think it’s a pretty sweet match!