2011 CES: GM to introduce wireless charging technology to its cars with Powermat

Article by Christian A., on January 6, 2011

GM announced a new partnership today with Powermat, a pioneer in wireless charging technology, which will eliminate the need for charging cords for personal electronic devices in most of its future cars such as Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models beginning mid-2012. GM will invest $5 million in Powermat, through GM Ventures, the company’s venture capital subsidiary, in order to accelerate the technology development.

For those who don’t know, the Powermat technology allows users to charge their smart phones, MP3 players and gaming devices without needing any wires. Still, according to Powermat CEO Ran Poliakine, the charging is made safely and efficiently. As expected, one of the first cars to offer this technology will be th 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

The Chevrolet Volt was envisioned to reinvent the automobile with the aim of reducing the country’s reliance on oil while being able to offer extended driving range. This vehicle will also be the first ever model from GM to carry the technology that hopes to change how the electronic devices are charged inside a car.

Micky Bly, GM lead electronics executive (covering infotainment, hybrids and battery electric vehicles), said that, try to imagine a shelf where you can place your Android, iPhone, or any other electronic device. This same area, Bly continued, can then charge these different devices automatically whether you are running for errands, going on a family vacation, or driving to work. While the Volt is just the first of the applications, the company intends to expand it to eventually become part of its vehicle portfolio, he added.

Founded in 2007, Powermat is a private firm that provides a number of wireless charging products for the home. Its products are sold in various retail stores that include Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Target. Poliakine meanwhile is excited to being with the Volt, which has already won to date a number of Car of the Year awards.

Poliakine added that GM remains to be one of the few remaining giants in the business world. GM, Poliakine continued, continues to be a forward-thinking innovator that had both the good sense and courage to be concerned about its consumer and the planet in general.

According to Jon Lauckner, the Powermat is the kind of technology that he has long been dreaming about. Mr. Lauckner, who contributed to creating the Volt concept, is currently the President of GM Ventures.

Mr. Lauckner shared that when the Volt concept car was originally developed in 2006, the goal was to revolutionize not just its propulsion but all aspects of the car. Even back then, the company already had something like this in mind and the company believes it will continue to have a wide appeal, he added.

Press Release

GM, Powermat to Put Added 'Charge' in Chevy Volt

General Motors and Powermat, a pioneer in wireless charging technology, announced a commercial agreement today that will eliminate the need for charging cords for personal electronic devices in many future Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac products beginning mid-2012.

GM Ventures, the company's venture capital subsidiary, will invest $5 million in Powermat to accelerate the technology's development and support efforts to grow Powermat's business globally.

Powermat's technology allows electronic devices – smart phones, MP3 players and gaming devices – to be charged safely and efficiently, according to Powermat CEO Ran Poliakine.

The Chevrolet Volt, conceived as a reinvention of the automobile that would help reduce America's dependence on oil, while providing the assurance of an extended driving range, will be one of the first GM vehicles to offer this technology. The technology is expected to revolutionize how electronic devices are charged in a car.

"Imagine a mat or shelf where you could put your iPhone, your Droid or other personal device and charge it automatically while you commute to work, run errands or as you're driving on a family vacation," said Micky Bly, GM's lead electronics executive, including infotainment, hybrids and battery electric vehicles.

"The Chevy Volt will be one of the first applications, but we intend to expand it across our vehicle portfolio," Bly said.

Powermat, a private firm, was founded in 2007 and offers wireless charging products for the home in a number of retail stores, including Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart.

Poliakine is excited to start with the Chevrolet Volt, which has swept major Car of the Year awards to date.

"GM is among the rarest of giants in today's business climate: a forward-thinking innovator with the courage and good sense to care about the well-being of the consumer and the well-being of our planet," Poliakine said.

Jon Lauckner, who helped create the Volt concept and now is President of GM Ventures, has been dreaming about a technology like Powermat for years.

"We first developed the Volt concept car in 2006," Lauckner said. "The intent was to revolutionize every aspect of the car, not just the propulsion system. We had something like this in mind even then, and we think it will have widespread appeal."

About General Motors

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM, TSX: GMM), one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 209,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in more than 120 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 31 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Daewoo, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall, and Wuling. GM's largest national market is China, followed by the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and Russia. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services.

About Powermat

Powermat was the first company to perfect inductive-based wireless charging and to bring it to consumers in a widely available, meaningful way via mainstream retail channels. The undisputed leader in wireless charging, Powermat leads the category in all facets including technology, retail footprint, consumer experience, and brand. Powermat allows users to enable their electronic devices once with a Powermat receiver and then set down up to three devices on the charging mat for fast, safe and effective wireless charging. It's simple, effortless, and provides consumers with first-of-its-kind freedom from the need to constantly plug/unplug as well as the angst of running on empty.

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