GM has invested $5 million in the Powermat wireless charging start-up, and they want to use the technology “to charge its soon-to-be-launched Chevy Volt hybrid electric car,” Businessgreen reports. They report from the UK, so they shall be forgiven the “soon-to-be-launched” this one time only. But to charge a Chevy Volt?
Launched 2007, Powermat‘s charging mats are used to charge small electronic devices like mobile phones and mp3 players contact-less. You put them on a mat, and magnetic induction does the rest. Just like charging many new electric toothbrushes. The basic technology is as old as the transformer.
According to Businessgreen, “GM’s investment will support the adaptation of the technology for use by the auto industry and could eventually lead to electric cars being charged simply by being parked in a fitted garage.” Oh yes?
As part of a multi-year deal, GM will have exclusive use of the Powermat technology for one year to place the systems in its vehicles worldwide, GM Ventures President Jon Lauckner told Reuters.
Well, before any cars are charged in a Powermat-equipped garage, the Volt may use the technology to simply charge personal devices in the car. But not after testing made sure that technology doesn’t mess with the car. A Volt fitted with wireless charging devices will be show at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. But that’s the easy part.
I know what you are thinking now: Roads with black … don’t even think it. Charging an amp-hungry car with the technology comes with its own set of, well, challenges. If you wear a pacemaker, or are worried about cell phones frying your brain cells, you may want to stay away from a garage outfitted with a giant Powermat that gives your car its daily MRI.