- The increase in electricity consumption due to the switch to wireless
“The world would probably be better off if we all stuck to good old-fashioned plugs, “ regretted Ravenscraft, following a post warning about wireless charging technologies for our electronics. In an article, the journalist and IT expert recalled that over the past two years, the number of smartphones compatible with these wireless charging stations is booming. Apple, which produces iPhones, has reached a stage where the complete abandonment of charging cables is being considered, if not desired.
It must be said that everything seems to be going to the advantage of wireless. The wear and tear of cables, the practicality and rapidity of having only to place your mobile on a base, and the possibility for brands to remove their connections look like a logical evolution of technologies. A trend that has led the tech specialist to look into the question, relying on data from OneZero relayed by the OneZero media.
By measuring the actual energy expenditure of the various wireless charging devices available on the market, they were able to observe a considerable loss of electricity compared to traditional cables. The measurements are approximate because consumption depends on the materials used, but also on the positioning of the smartphones on the induction coil (s). But the data are alert: 39 to 80% of the additional electricity used …
Wireless, induction charging technology has a limit: part of the electricity is lost, especially in thermal energy (heat). The tests carried out taking into account different induction surfaces. One of the best, the Pixel Stand, stands out for its reinforced design: on a base holding the smartphone in an inclined position, the coil is well aligned in height.
Problem: the lateral alignment is never optimal, and it is in particular by this defect that the energy is lost. With a horizontal base, where the positioning of the smartphone is less guided, OneZero and iFixit have measured an 80% increase in the additional electricity needed to charge the smartphone, compared to a cable on a conventional charger.
Another limit detected on induction chargers: consumption independent of the base when no smartphone is installed. The measurements might seem tiny. They are not, however, on the scale of 3 billion smartphones present in the world, and after hundreds of thousands of hours.
The specialists’ report on the “Pixel Stand” calculates this unnecessary consumption at 0.25 watts per hour. Over 24 hours, a single device already corresponds to 6 watts, which having several in a house would quickly correspond to the energy expended to recharge the entire accumulator of a smartphone.
“If all of a sudden the 3 billion [more] smartphones in use require 50% more power to charge, that is a huge sum. So it’s a company-wide problem, not a personal problem, ” alerted Kyle Wiens, CEO of Fixit at OneZero.