Over the past decade, motoring has changed dramatically. This is in large part due to the advent of mobile communications technology. While cell phones existed farther back than the early 2000s, they were not integrated into the driving experience in any way (except car phones from the 80s, which were, by definition, integrated). These days, however, it’s impossible to buy a new car without at least a basic infotainment system that allows for mp3 and USB connectivity.
This functionality is no longer considered a luxury, but a necessity. In an age when all drivers are connected to their friends, family and colleagues via a small plastic and glass block in their pockets, it has become imperative that this device stay powered. This becomes doubly important for those drivers who are unfamiliar with the concept of an atlas and require the Google Maps app to get to and from the shops when buying groceries.
Bearing this in mind, General Motors has revolutionized digital integration in the car by offering an entirely new charging method. Beginning with the 2014 model year, the largest carmaker in the U.S. will be offering wireless charging in a select range of its models.
The charging station will be based on Powermat, a pad-like device that pumps electricity through a magnetic field to devices resting on its surface. This will be the first instance in which this technology is built into cars.
Toyota and Chrysler are currently offering similar options. However, their charging stations are only available on one car from each marque’s lineup, the Avalon and Dart.
It’s estimated that, in the coming year, global shipments of wireless charging technology will increase 2,000 percent from 5 million to 100 million units per year. While it’s currently unknown which cars in the GM lineup will receive the new technology, it’s safe to assume that GM cars and trucks will account for a healthy portion of this number.
As media and communications integration become a larger part of the life of the average driver, an early adoption of wireless charging technology will allow GM to play the role of industry trendsetter. By offering a service that is seen as increasingly crucial, GM can also hope to drum up some positive publicity for their brand.