Next year, GM will introduce wireless charging cords in the Chevy Volt electric-gasoline vehicle along with other GM models. The new equipment, courtesy of wireless expert Powermat, will be capable of charging cell phones and other small devices, which means that the owners of these cars can eliminate at least one pesky little item from their consumer electronics inventory – the car charger. Hmmm…a car that actually simplifies your life instead of complicating it…weird…
Phone Chargers and Sustainability
Yes, cell phone charging cords are relatively small pieces of equipment but on a global scale they add up to an enormous amount of waste. One problem is the lack of uniform standards, which means that you keep adding to that bag of out-of-date chargers in your closet every time you get a new phone. The industry is nearing a universal charger at least in Europe, but that still leaves a good measure of needless duplication for people who need one charger to keep at home and one to keep in the car. Eliminate the need for a car charger and there you go.
Electric Vehicles and Sustainability
The sustainability equation goes to a whole new level when it comes to electric vehicles. Say, for example, that your home doesn’t provide a suitable site for a solar power installation, but you have access to one of those cool new parking lots with solar power canopies. You could charge up your EV battery at the parking lot, along with any number of other devices in your car. In other words, your car could function as a portable solar power collector, enabling you to gather and store solar energy while you’re out and about, and use it to power the electronic equipment that populates your home.
Chevy Volt and Green Jobs
It’s fitting that GM is kicking off the new wireless charger in the Volt, because this vehicle is emerging as a sort of avatar for every green dream you can think of, even to the point of making lemonade (well, car parts) out of the booms left over from BP’s Gulf of Mexico disaster. The Volt is also creating new green jobs and it may serve as a platform for GM’s new thermoelectric technology, which captures the waste heat from car exhaust in order to boost fuel efficiency.
Image: Phone chargers by matthewvenn on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.