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The Future of Wireless Power

Charge In The Car…

GM is putting a Powermat charging area as an option for the Chevy Volt, so any Powermat-eabled device will charge.

GM is putting a Powermat charging area as an option for the Chevy Volt, so any Powermat-eabled device will charge.

Fiddling with cables in the car isn’t convenient or safe, but the drive to or from work is a good time to keep your phone or Bluetooth headset charged. There have been a handful of after-market in-car wireless chargers using the eCoupled Qi system. However, the Chevy Volt comes with Powermat’s charging surface built in to the center console, so you can just drop a couple of devices down to charge while you drive. Qualcomm is talking to several automotive manufacturers about building WiPower support into cars, and eCoupled says it’s already working with some car makers on built-in Qi power. Both companies say the automotive industry wants one near-field wireless charging standard, not two, so discussions over that may slow down the implementation of in-car systems.

There’s no cable, but the BlackBerry is charging (and showing the familiar clock charging screen).

There’s no cable, but the BlackBerry is charging (and showing the familiar clock charging screen).

Commercial uses may be common first. We’ve seen prototypes of contractor-grade commercial power tools from Bosch using Qi wireless power that can charge while they’re in their carrying case. You can put them on a charging shelf in the workshop – or on a charging rack in a truck so they’re always charged when you get to a job. You can forget about leaving tools behind, too; because the system has to know what’s on the shelf to send it the right power, the system can send an alert to a phone before you drive away, saving a return trip to collect it (or the cost of the tool if it goes missing).

Commercial Bosch power tools charging on an eCoupled shelf in a contractor’s truck.

Commercial Bosch power tools charging on an eCoupled shelf in a contractor’s truck.