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Earlier this week, General Motors announced plans to invest $5 million in Powermat, and here at CES we stopped by the wireless charging company's stand to check out a prototype system installed in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

If you're familiar with inductive charging or any of Powermat's products, the basic concept and hardware are completely unchanged: an inductive charging pad is fitted aft of the shifter and when you place a smartphone or other small electronic device equipped with the Powermat backing plate onto the mat it starts charging almost immediately. Powermat installed two pads in the Volt – one in front and another, larger mat in back – and when you place your device onto the pad, it magnetically snaps into place, a convenient bi-product of the inductive system.

Powermat claims that wireless charging is just as efficient as traditional wired charging, although they don't offer any definitive figures. Regardless, GM wants to offer the system on all its products next year, so start looking for the option box on all new 2012 models.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 8 Comments
      • 2 Months Ago
      I've had inductive charging with my Palm Pre and its Touchstone for over a year. I wish they would sell a car Touchstone as well, but I may just jerry rig a regular touchstone in my car. Its a great feature!
      • 2 Months Ago
      While milliwatt charging by induction is probably pretty harmless (though I am not a doctor and doctors have sure been wrong about radiation before) I would not want to stand or live or sleep anywhere near where a huge battery was being inductively recharged. I'll stick to plug-in for now, thanks, for both big and small devices. The rest of you can be the guinea pigs. To me this is just another reason not to want the electric car but I guess they can sell as many as they can make - so why not jam it up with pointless extras and charge more?
      • 2 Months Ago
      Smart idea. Props to whomever came up with this.
      • 2 Months Ago
      From the title I thought it meant that you drove onto a huge powermat, and it would charge the Volt. That way, you wouldn't have the plug it in; just drive onto the mat (which would presumably be in one's garage).
      • 2 Months Ago
      Neat idea, but this isn't something I see truly taking off until its standard-equipment on mainstream devices.
      • 2 Months Ago
      This is a cool idea placed in the car. I just hope that I don't need to place some bulky addition to my smart phone like the current charging pads require. All I want is my OEM case to be placed on top of the powermat and charge.
        • 2 Months Ago
        Never mind... I watched the video and answered my own question. I think this whole powermat charging idea is great but needs to be adopted by the OEMs with replacement battery covers from the get-go. The more we add to the phone, the thicker and bulkier they become and not comfortable when holding them in pockets or even in the hand.