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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