Researchers at Stanford University have published a study showing they were able to transmit electricity to an LED lightbulb, which uses a tiny one milliwatt charge, as it moved over a distance.
Electric cars require tens of kilowatts to operate and the team is now working on increasing the amount of electricity that can be transferred.
By tweaking the system to extend the transfer distance and improve efficiency, they believe they can transmit the kind of currents needed to power a car.
They envisage the technology being built into road surfaces in the future, allowing electric vehicles to charge on the move.
The technology could also be used to develop long distance charging stations for a range of electronic devices.
Speaking to MailOnline, Dr Shanhui Fan said: ‘We were able to construct a wireless power transfer system, where high efficiency can be maintained when transferring power to a moving object.
‘Our advancement could be useful whenever wireless power transfer to a mobile device or vehicle is desired.
‘But for power transfer to vehicles, one would need to significant increase the power that is transferred.