Drivers and passengers of some vehicles built by General Motors could avail of the wireless charging for smartphones in their own units starting 2014 model year. This was disclosed by Ran Poliakine, chief executive of Powermat Technologies Ltd., which is using a GM investment to help develop the technology.
Drivers and passengers some 2014 GM models will just have to place their smartphones onto a Powermat surface to draw electricity and recharge their mobile devices, instead of plugging them with cables. For the charging to become possible, a smartphones must be capable of recharging via built-in technology or employ a purposely made case.
Poliakine said that GM would be the first carmaker to install the Powermat into its new models. However, GM is not alone in the game. Toyota Motor Corp. has installed a similar system in the 2013 Toyota Avalon while Chrysler Group is offering wireless charging technology in some 2013 Dart compact cars and on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
IHS expects global shipments of such devices to surge to nearly 100 million by 2015, from just 5 million units in 2012. Poliakine remarked to Bloomberg in an interview that the car is a “major part of life” for people with a smartphone, and the new charging technology is “taking care of that part of life."
The company’s technology works for smartphones containing a coil that receives electricity from a magnetic field when placed on a Powermat-enabled surface. Charging time is more or less the same with wired connections. The technology is gaining popularity with Starbucks shops in Silicon Valley, Boston and New York's Madison Square Garden featuring Duracell Powermat chargers on its tables.