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Clean Transport GM will introduce wireless cell phone car chargers for Chevy Volt and other models

Published on January 13th, 2011 | by Tina Casey

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Chevy Volt Owners Will Say Buh-Bye to Car Chargers in 2012

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January 13th, 2011 by  

GM will introduce wireless cell phone car chargers for Chevy Volt and other modelsNext 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 One problem is the lack of uniform standards, which means that you keep adding to that bag of out-of-date chargers in your closet every time you get a new phone.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.

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About the Author

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. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.



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  • Alex

    They should also find a way to make these chargers more efficient. I think something like 30% of the electicity is wasted in heat form when AC is converted to DC. I think they should focus on finding a way for devices to directly function on AC current without needing conversion. Nikola Tesla would be proud too

  • Momus

    A misleading article. Powermat will NOT charge your phones nor anything else that is not designed to be charged by it. So it still requires all new standard cell phones/gadgets. Another thoughtless gimmick, wasting energy. Perhaps one day it will make sense, but not soon.

    It would be better to focus at a plug-in charging standard. Like a standard USB format with standard voltage for all cell phones, notebooks, netbooks, iStuff, GPS,…

    • Tina Casey

      Momus: I don’t see any disagreement here. If devices like Powermat give us a nudge toward standardization and universal chargers, that’s a good thing, right?

  • Achim Krull

    Problem: powermat or wireless chargers lose about 30% of their energy in the broadcast, so actually need more power for the same effect than plug-in chargers. Hardly a step forward.

    • Tina Casey

      Good point though I don’t know if that criticism applies to the latest wireless charging tech. Anyone out there care to weigh in? Also if you’re charging your car off a solar carport, as I suggest (or any other clean renewable energy source), you’re still coming out ahead, so the equation is somewhat different for EV’s equipped with wireless chargers.

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