SAN DIEGO, CA – Not only is Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) one of the world’s most cash-rich companies, they are also making a serious move into wireless charging systems. Last week the company made headlines when it released the Toq smartwatch, which charges without being plugged in, but this week the company announced that the same technology could be used for bigger, faster gadgets such as racecars.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the company said that its Halo system would become part of the new FIA Formula E race series beginning next year with events in cities including London, Rome, and Los Angeles. FIA Formula E is a racing circuit for electric vehicles including Spark Racing Technology of France and the cars can go from zero to 60 in less than three seconds and car reach speeds of more than 130 miles per hour on city streets.
Qualcomm’s halo system uses technology that transmits electricity between two coils resonating at the same frequency to charge the cars while they are racing. Pads in the road will transmit electricity to the autos as they zoom past. Once implemented, the Halo system will eliminate the need to recharge during races.
According to Qualcomm CMO Anand Chandrasekher, Formula E is a platform to build infrastructure in major cities around the world. Commenting after the announcement, Chandrasekher said once the race is done and gone, the pads are still there. We are big believers in wireless charging. It’s not a question of if but when.’
Beyond new technology, the company also announced a $ 5 billion share buyback earlier this week. The buyback is the second in the past six months, and the company has returned more than $25 billion to investors through buybacks and dividends since 2003. According to Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs, the move is an indication of the company’s ‘strong financial position and business model’ and reflects management’s ‘commitment to returning capital to stockholders while continuing to make substantial investments in new technologies and future growth opportunities.’
While investors welcomed the news shares in Qualcomm ended the week only up 0.82 percent, off post-announcement highs of $ 70.30. For the year, the company’s shares have only gained 13 percent while the S&P 500 is more than 20 percent. It would appear that some view Qualcomm as a conservative investment and only the delivery of disruptive technologies, such as wireless charging for cars, could accelerate share prices.