GM offering wireless charging in 2014 models
General Motors plans to offer wireless charging in some vehicles next year, through a partnership with Powermat Technologies. This will mean that some GM owners will no longer have to mess with cords and plugs to charge.
The technology is proven and has been around for a while. Powermat is a leading developer of wireless charging systems that integrate with most lithium-ion batteries for charging without plugging in. The mats plug into a variety of outlets, depending on model, and require only that the batteries be placed within a specific proximity, usually directly on top of the mat itself, and have a receiving coil installed - a simple matter most can do themselves.
GM is an investor in Powermat and will become the first carmaker to offer Powermat as a built-in option for their vehicles. This will compete directly with Toyota and Chrysler, both of whom have similar technologies in select vehicles as of this year (the Avalon and Dart specifically).
Like many emerging technologies, however, there are conflicting standards for how wireless charging should work. Several groups are promoting their own standards through various industry groups. Powermat is part of the Power Matters Alliance, which includes BlackBerry and AT&T as well. Rivals include the Wireless Power Consortium, which includes Nokia, Samsung and Verizon while the Alliance for Wireless Power includes HTC, Intel and Qualcomm.
GM has not made it clear which vehicles will be Powermat-ready and when, but they did promise that the Volt would be one of the first when they initially invested in Powermat in 2011.