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Germany trials inductive car chargers

The real-world trial is being backed by the German government, and will start in March 2012.

Just drive in and park – and you’ve got charge. Or slot into a special carpark on the street and do the same thing.

Similar to the inductive charging plates you can get for mobile phones – and the inductive technology used by your electric toothbrush as well – cordless charging is probing into the car world.

A trial project has been started in Berlin, with German carmakers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Opel and VW lining up to give their electric vehicles a shot. The real-world trial is being backed by the German government, and will start in March 2012 with a family of four living in an induction-equipped house.

Over the 15 months they’re in residence, they’ll get to drive cars from the German brands, with the first car onto the rank being a Mercedes-Benz A-Class E-CELL modified with a special charging coil that allows an induction charging option.

The A-Class E-CELL will be parked over a charging coil in the carport floor, automatically activating charging via an electromagnetic field. The A-Class will still be able to be charged via the house’s domestic power outlet and public charging stations.

Lining up behind the A-Claass – and from the same Daimler stable - are a Smart Fortwo and a Smart ebike electric bicycle, all of which will be evaluated to see how well the technology fits into everyday family life. At least, if you’re an everyday family living in a one-off science lab project.