No cord on board: Cadillac rolls out wireless chargers
Charging stations from Israeli-based Powermat will be available in 2015 models of Cadillac's ATS and Escalade.
Fasten your seatbelts. Your car charger is going cordless.
Israeli wireless tech company Powermat, which announced in June its plans to equip several Starbucks coffee shops with its wireless charging spots, says it’s joined forces with Detroit automaker General Motors to provide similar technology to its 2015 Cadillac ATS sedans and coupes, to be released in the fall. Toward the end of 2014, GM will add Powermat spots to its Cadillac CTS sport sedan and Escalade SUV.
“Our lifestyles have evolved in a more mobile way than ever before, and with that comes an even greater need for access to power in those places where we spend the majority of our time,” said Powermat CEO Ran Poliakine. “Our integration into the Cadillac ATS is only the first step in the evolution of portable power in places that include your car, your coffee house and even your favorite sporting arena.”
In a Powermat-enabled Cadillac, users can charge their phones simply by placing them on a rubber pad in the center panel, inside the storage bin. It works by sending electromagnetic impulses to the phone, which must have wireless charging capabilities. An increasing number of smartphones are being produced with this technology.
Users can still connect to BlueTooth and enjoy many of their phone's hands-free functions while charging.
Ryan Sanderson, an associate director at research firm IHS Technologies, said Cadillac's announcement reflects society's ever-growing reliance on smartphones – and, in turn, places to charge them. A recent survey revealed that 70 percent of consumers charge their phones at least once per day, with 30 percent charging more than once.
“This is driving demand for charging access in multiple locations throughout the day, something wireless charging can address in a more convenient way than the consumer having to carry one or more wired chargers around with them on a daily basis," he said.
Founded in 2006 in Israel, Powermat has its headquarters in the U.S., research and development in Israel and production in China. The company partnered with battery giant Duracell in 2011 to expand its consumer offerings, which include the Cadillac and Starbucks developments. It also works with AT&T and other carriers to embed wireless charging capabilities into smartphones. It now sells Powermat charging docks via Amazon, OfficeMax and other retailers.
In 2011, GM's venture capital arm invested $5 million in Powermat with the goal of including the charging mats in GM vehicles.
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