Technology of the Year: Mopar In-Vehicle Wireless Charging for Portable Devices
Wireless charging in Chrysler vehicles
Power has always been a guiding light for the Mopar parts and accessories group at Chrysler. For their newest power pack, Mopar branches out from their normal mantra of horsepower to charging power. With their new charging mat for mobile devices, they now offer charging power at all times, conveniently and without hassle. Introduced on the limited run of Dodge Dart "Mopar '13" models this year, they will have wireless charging available for their most popular cars and truck by early 2014.
With the kit offered by Chrysler's Mopar Parts division, mobile phones are fitted with a special case using small pins on the back, which make contact with elements on a special charging mat. Since the mat functions wirelessly, you simply place your device on it with no clips or cradles, and it will charge, taking wires out of the picture. The kit costs $200.
"Our innovations group gathers information for upcoming trends and navigates the viability of potential new features," says Tom Poulson, Mopar's Accessory Product Line Manager for electronics. "In addition to the mat and case for iPhones and Galaxy 3 phones, there is a direct-fit case for phones with a micro USB connector.
According to Chrysler, one of the biggest draws to this type of contact mat arrangement is that you can charge more than one device at a time. When charging only a single device, it does so at the same rate as if being directly plugged into a conventional charger. Simultaneous charging of more than one device slows the rate of charge, though. Mopar also offers a home charging pad, to round out complementary accessories.
"We will be fitting additional apps for more car models, but as we flow this feature into regular production cars, the accessories volume will likely come down, but total poularity will rise," notes Skip Olson, Senior Manager at Mopar.
With the first run of 500 "Mopar '13" Dodge Darts, plus between 200-300 accessories kits sold and fitted thus far, the total numbers seem low compared to the convenience, but they will likely hike as people catch on.
This technology is rather simple and also expandable. Chrysler is working on additional permutations on this theme to make power for other larger electronics devices like laptops for work trucks. "We're always looking at how to make work and life more convenient whether that's inside or outside the vehicle," says Olson.
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