By Kyle Field
Usually when we talk about charging here on CleanTechnica, it has to do with plugging in an electric car to juice up the batteries. The folks at EV Annex are all about electric vehicles, but their expertise is helping owners to make their vehicles fit their lifestyles. To do that, EV Annex developed a wireless Qi charging pad for the Model 3 that makes keeping your smartphone juiced up a breeze.
Their product is called the On-board Wireless Layer, or OWL for short, and they sent one our way for us to run through the paces in our Model 3. The name is a play on the fact that the dual chargers on the product actually look a bit like the googley eyes of an owl, which gives it a fun personality.
The Model 3 comes from the factory with a charging dock up at the front of the center console that was designed as a cell phone dock, with two integrated USB chargers that tap right into the built-in ports that live underneath it. Normally, a quick install of the included USB cords makes it easy for owners to dock their phones and get them charged up, but the location of the dock and the small size of the connectors makes it hard to get the phone to charge successfully every time, especially when using the phone during traffic stops.
The OWL takes the built in dock of the Model 3 and really levels it up by adding wireless Qi charging to the car. The product is comprised of a charging mat that replaces the rubber overlay on the stock Tesla dock. Much like the USB adapters that Tesla includes, the OWL has two USB plugs that plug right into the two USB ports below it, making installation a breeze.
Once installed, the OWL…just works. To charge your Qi enabled phone, just set it on the OWL and it starts charging. Qi charging has surfaced as the standard wireless protocol for personal mobile devices and is included in many modern phones like many of Samsung’s phones (like my Samsung Galaxy S8), the iPhone 8/X, and many more.
The OWL has a small shelf at the bottom that the phones rest on, which has a nice rubbery material on it that has some grip to it. This material also rings the Qi charging pucks on either side of the OWL, which works together with the grip on the lower shelf to give the phones a nice secure place to rest while they charge.
More than anything, the OWL makes it easy to safely get the phone on and off the charger while on the go. No more searching for the little USB adapter after checking a text at the stoplight. Just slap it on the charger and get going again. What it doesn’t do is to make using a phone while driving any safer. Don’t do that. It’s bad for your health and the health of your Model 3.
There are a few options out there to add wireless charging to the Tesla Model 3, but the EV Annex OWL is a tough option to beat at its $89.00 price point. They also have a special promotion running right now that adds free shipping for orders over $100.
Disclaimer: EV Annex provided the OWL to CleanTechnica at no cost for this review.
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