Volvo says its C30 Electric could be cordlessly recharged in 2.5 hours (Photo: Volvo)

Volvo Cars is confident that cordless electric-vehicle charging has a "promising" future. The Sweden-based premium car group said results from a research project in which it participated showed that the technology can help make EV charging simpler, easier and more efficient.

"Inductive charging has great potential," Lennart Stegland, vice president, electric propulsion system at Volvo, said in a press release. "The study also indicates that it is safe.”

Inductive charging uses an electromagnetic field to transfer energy. An induction coil creates an alternating electromagnetic field from a charging base station, while a second induction coil in the portable device picks up power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into an electrical energy that charges the battery. The technology is already used in electrical toothbrushes and some other household electronic devices. Industry experts say it will come to the car in the next few years as well.

Qualcomm showed how inductive charging works at last month's eCarTec EV exhibition in Munich and executives said their technology would be available in a production car by 2016.

Volvo's Stegland said inductive charging could play a role in increasing customer acceptance of EVs because it would make the process significantly easier. "With inductive charging, you simply position the car over a charging device and charging starts automatically," he said. Tests showed that a Volvo C30 Electric can be fully charged with the technology in 2.5 hours.

The research project in which Volvo participated also included Bombardier Transportation and coach builder van Hool. The research was conducted in Belgium. It was supported by the Flanders government.