GM will soon offer wireless charging for smartphones image

According to Ran Poliakine, chief executive officer of Powermat Technologies Ltd., some GM vehicles next year will start offering wireless charging for smartphones.

Instead of relying on the usual array of cables to o replenish battery power, drivers of some 2014 GM models will be able to place mobile devices onto a Powermat surface inside the car to draw electricity. Phones must be capable of recharging via built-in technology, or use a case designed for the purpose.

GM, an investor in Powermat, would be the first carmaker to build the technology into its models, Poliakine said. The Detroit-based automaker is racing with Toyota Motor Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC, which have also indicated they will include the feature in some 2014 models. Global shipments of wirelessly charging devices are projected to rise to almost 100 million by 2015 from 5 million units last year, according to IHS.

“The car is a major part of life for everyone with a smartphone,” Poliakine said in an interview. “And this is taking care of that part of life.”

Still, Dan Flores, a spokesman for GM, did not comment on the declarations of the Powermat official: “We continue to work with Powermat to bring their technologies to GM products, but for competitive reasons we’re not discussing specifics at this time,” Flores said. “The technology continues to move forward.”

Still, even if the standard will arrive in the GM cars as predicted, customers could be baffled, as several industry groups are promoting different standards for the wireless charging and smartphones could find useless the standard introduced in the GM cars.

In a small and simple breakdown of the technology, phones that can charge without being plugged in contain a coil that receives electricity from a magnetic field when placed on a Powermat-enabled surface. Charging time is comparable to wired connections.