Car wireless charging will be the next important application

Wireless inductive charging for mobile devices has become a trend that has existed in the market for several years. With this new technology, you do not have to plug your phone into a cigarette lighter, 12V charger, or USB port, and users can wirelessly charge the battery.

But many vendors are trying to provide solutions that were not, in most cases, interoperable with each other. However, all this may be changing now.

GM invests in Powermat

In January of this year, GM and Powermat announced a $ 5 million investment plan from GM Ventures, a subsidiary of GM. This investment may make the Powermat induction charging as fast as possible into many future models such as the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac in mid-2012.

Powermat's technology allows electronic devices such as smartphones, MP3 players and game consoles to be charged without plugging in; Powermat has started shipping wireless chargers for personal use. In most cases, when charging your smartphone, you must attach a case with a small receiver to the phone. The receiver allows the phone to communicate with a power mat, charging the battery by sensing, eliminating the need for wires.

Although GM said in a statement that the Chevrolet Volt will be one of the first cars to adopt the above technology, larger cars are likely to revolutionize car charging.

Volkswagen and Audi to take action

Audi had the idea of wireless charging at the 2010 SEMA show, demonstrating with Qualcomm and Peiker a product that can wirelessly charge smartphones, PDAs and other devices. Audi will sell this wireless charging solution as an attachment.

Meanwhile, at Volkswagen's Electronics Research Laboratory in Silicon Valley, a central car console is being researched that can charge smartphones wirelessly, similar to the family-oriented power mat sold in the market. The project, conducted in cooperation with Qualcomm, is said to use magnetic near-field resonance to drive rear-seat entertainment or ambient lighting. This puts Audi closer to the notion of production six months ago.

Chinese OEM and its role

An interesting trend can be seen at the recent Shanghai Auto Show, where Chinese OEMs are working hard to study wireless charging of mobile devices in the car. Some Chinese OEMs are trying to be at the forefront of new competition with mobile wireless charging, including bringing mobile wireless chargers into the car.

The Emgrand EC8 is Geely's flagship model with a mobile wireless charging system at the bottom of the control panel. According to Geely introduction, wireless charging ready for mass production, but has not yet determined launch time.

Changan Automobile also exhibited a sample of future cars with several advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) features and a wireless charging system for mobile devices in the rear center armrest. According to Changan Automobile employees, this wireless charging standard, called Qi, was developed by the Wireless Battery Alliance (WPC) and has been in Beijing as an industry standard since August 2010. Many Chinese companies have launched their own Qi wireless charging standard products, Chinese OEM seems eager to bring the technology to market.

OEM will make a commitment?

The biggest factor driving wireless charging in the car is the consumer electronics industry's attitude toward the technology. The ultimate goal is to integrate the inductive charging chip into the smartphone or battery itself to ensure compatibility while avoiding the additional cost of using the enclosure.

IHS believes that through the cooperation with the consumer electronics industry and the adoption of a common Qi standard, Chinese OEMs may actually introduce the technology into automobiles faster than their foreign counterparts. However, if their results in this area deviate from expectations, these OEMs may find it difficult to obtain a return on their investment.

As in-vehicle mobile device connectivity and ease of use are becoming a hot topic for OEMs, putting a mobile device on a nearby charging pad for wireless charging sounds like a good idea for the driver. Whether this kind of idea can bring profit to OEM still remains to be seen.