Someday soon, plug-in cars may no longer need a plug. Electric car drivers would simply pull into a specialized parking space when it’s time to power up, wait for a light on their dashboard to switch on, and then hop out of the car and go about their day.

This is the promise of wireless EV charging, an inductive transfer of electrons that would eliminate the need for all those pesky cords. Multiple startups have spent years working toward a world in which wireless charging goes mainstream, and as EV adoption picks up, momentum is building to make that dream a reality. Companies are coalescing around standardized technology, automakers are embarking on wireless experiments, and municipalities are mapping out use cases. Even Tesla is interested.

But major hurdles remain, chief among them slow charging speeds and the money and interest needed to build stations and get more carmakers on board. While charging without a cord sounds great on paper, the technology faces the same paradox that’s impacting the rollout of public plugs: Stronger consumer demand could push car companies to take up wireless charging, but growth in EV demand is stymied in part by anxiety about public charging.