Tesla Bought Wiferion

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    Update 10/6/2023: Looks like Wiferion has been bought once again, this time by PULS GmbH.  PULS makes DIN-rail-mounted power supplies so I look forward to seeing how this affects Wiferion's market position.  For more information, visit The Wiferion Website.

    Update 7/19/2023 : It's official!  Wiferion is now Tesla Engineering Germany.  I received official notice this morning informing me of the change.  I asked what that means for Wiferion North America and haven't heard back yet.

    Update 7/5/2023:  I just heard today from a reputable source the industrial wireless charging division of Wiferion should be back to work by September 1st.  There are three companies being considered as buyers.

    That's right!  If you haven't heard already, Tesla is in the process of buying Wiferion, a source who wished to remain anonymous told JLC Robotics.

    I have mixed feelings about this.  On one hand, I'm excited for the Wiferion team.  It's every startup's dream to go public or be acquired by a large company like Tesla.

    On the other hand, I'm a little worried because I love Wiferion's products, but going through a merger/acquisition can be a challenging transition.  The last I heard was Wiferion is currently not taking on new customers in North America, which is really difficult both for JLC Robotics as a distributor and for all our reseller partners.

    Who is Wiferion?

    Wiferion is a German company that makes amazing industrial wireless chargers.  They were founded in 2016 and released their flagship product, the etaLink 3000 soon after.  The etaLink 3000 was designed specifically for industrial mobile robots like AGVs, AMRs, and the like and can wirelessly deliver up to 3000 watts of power.

    Wiferion etaLink 3000 components
    Wiferion's etaLink 3000. The etaLink 3000 kit includes all the BLUE equipment pictured here.

    For the non manufacturing nerds out there, 3000 watts is A LOT of power.  As an example, the etaLink 3000 can fully charge any Thouzer robot in a half hour and still have extra capacity left over.  Yeah, a lot of power.

    Power aside, Jamie and I had a chance to get our hands on the etaLink 3000 earlier this year and it's very easy to set up and install into your robots.  I especially like that the charging begins automatically, as soon as the transmitter and receiver are within range of one another.  If 3kW is too little for you, fear not!  Wiferion even has 12kW chargers for BIG robots AND a cloud dashboard for monitoring your whole fleet at once.  Pretty awesome indeed.

    Long story short, Wiferion has an extremely robust wireless charging portfolio, thousands of systems deployed in the field, and as far as I can tell, they are the world leader in this space.  I scoured both ProMat and Automate looking for industrial charging solutions this year and I can say without reservation Wiferion is a best of breed solution.

    Who is Tesla?

    When most folks hear "Tesla " they immediatley think "electric vehicle" and they're not wrong; however, Tesla's mission is not just to make cars.  It's to "accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy."

    So yes, Tesla makes awesome EVs, but they also manufacture several other power solutions including solar panels, solar roof tiles, and the Tesla Powerwall.

    Aside from power solutions, Tesla has also made a foray into Artificial Intelligence and mobile robots, including the Tesla Bot, also known as Optimus:

    Tesla Robot aka Optimus
    Tesla Robot concept photo - Images and all IP property of Tesla Inc

    Tesla is VERY early in developing this robot.  When it debuted on Tesla Day 2022, Elon Musk said "Optimus is going to be incredible in five years, ten years mind-blowing."  Granted, those timelines may slip, but if Optimus ends up anything like its siblings the Tesla EVs and Falcon 9, they're going to be awesome.

    What's Next for Wiferion?

    "But Phil!  What does Tesla have to do with Wiferion?"

    GREAT question.  Honestly I'm not sure.  I don't think the Tesla Robot is close enough to production to spend a bunch of money on wireless charging just yet.  More than likely, Tesla wants to start offering wireless charging to EV owners.

    After all, we can wirelessly charge watches and phones - why not whole cars?

    I promise I'll update this article as I learn more, but for now Wiferion North America isn't taking on any new clients.  As an almost/future Wiferion distributor, this is VERY frustrating.  There are other wireless charging vendors out there like Xynergy and of course we LOVE CaPow's perpetual power solution, but as far as regular old industrial wireless charging goes, I just don't know anyone else that can hold a candle to Wiferion in terms of charging rate and solution maturity.

    After speaking confidentially with several people close to this transaction, it sounds like Tesla has little interest in industrial wireless chargers.  Their goal is to purchase Wiferion's engineering expertise and turn them loose on Tesla projects.  I will update the top of this article as I learn more, but for now I just hope we've not seen the end of Wiferion.

    If you hear any news of this transaction, please let me know!  I will treat all communications confidentially.

    The product photos pictured here are NOT ours and belong to their respective owners, Wiferion GmbH and Tesla Inc, who own all trademarks, copyrights, etc.

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