Hyundai puts USB ports in place of the cigarette lighter in South Korea image

The front bench seat and the wheel mounted gear shifter are distant memories of the past in the automotive history. Well, it looks now that the familiar orange glowing cigarette lighter is the next car accessory to follow them into oblivion.

In the first explicit ban by any global carmaker, the cigarette lighter has been replaced by a USB port in all new Hyundai cars built in South Korea, with a potential worldwide rollout.

More and more frequently an “auxiliary power port” and often fitted as standard without the heating element, the 12 volt socket had been reinvented as a power source for GPS systems, in-car fridges or converters for typical plugs, trailing power cables around the cockpit.

Smoking is now out of favor in many countries – as restrictions on smoking in public could soon spread to private cars, with surveys in the US, UK and Australia suggesting 75% of people support smoke-free car laws.

“From October 1, all passenger car models and SUVs made for the Korean market will replace the cigarette lighter with a USB port,” Hyundai told the Financial Times.

So, the South Korean manufacturer believes to be ahead of the curve in providing today’s drivers with a USB socket, a universal plug format that charges everything from mobile phones to tablets, digital cameras to portable fans.

Via Financial Times