More than three years after General Motors trumpeted its plans to turn its cars into wireless charging stations for your mobile phone, the automaker is finally releasing a vehicle with a built in electromagnetic charge pad, but it’s not the Chevy Volt that it originally promised.
Instead it’s focusing first on the high-end, making the 2015 Cadillac ATS coupe and sedan the first cars with Powermat’s wireless charging technology. The Cadillac CTS and Escalade will also get the technology later this year, though there’s still no word when wireless smartphone charging will make it into the Chevys and Buicks driven by the ordinary masses.
GM invested in Powermat in 2011, but the promised 2014 cars sporting its inductive power technology never appeared. That’s likely because hardly any smartphones supported Powermat’s technology without a special phone case or adapter. GM notes, however, that the new Powermat charge pad embedded in a compartment behind the ATS’s instrument panel will support multiple charging standards.
SlashGear confirmed with GM that one of those compatible technologies will be the Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi, which is actually now directly embedded into a good deal of Android and Windows Mobile smartphones in the market.
These standards spats have essentially held back the wireless charging industry for years with different companies across the spectrum of the consumer electronics industry pledging their fealty to one standard or another. That’s slowly starting to change. Two of the three big wireless power standards groups — Powermat’s Power Matters Alliance and the Alliance for Wireless Power — have merged. Meanwhile companies like Qualcomm have committed to supporting multiple wireless power standards in their products, and now the auto industry is as well, starting with GM.
No one is going to buy a Cadillac solely for its wireless charging capabilities, but if GM takes the same approach to its other cars, it could be very good news for smartphone owners buying new cars.
While charge pad products have started to make their way into homes and coffee shops, there’s probably no more convenient place for such technology than in the automobile. Given that smartphones are being used increasingly in vehicles to stream music and even supply turn-by-turn directions, being able to easily recharge your phone while driving is a necessity.
And if you’re like me, when you get in your car, you simply want to toss your phone in the dash compartment and go.