By on July 2, 2015

 

So, the world is coming to an end.

Smartphone users who just can’t handle the thought of their iDroidberrys shutting off because they get a little overheated, GM has a solution for you. The automaker announced a feature in upcoming 2016 Chevrolet Malibus and Impalas that will cool the phone while charging on the wireless mat before it turns itself into a hot brick of glass, plastic and metal.

Finally, engineers at GM got my letter.

According to GM, the vent will only operate when the vehicle’s heating or cooling system is on. The system works by placing an air vent on the mat, because that makes the most sense.

The feature will also be installed in Chevrolet Cruze and Volt models equipped with the wireless charging mat. For those of us who don’t spring for the wireless charging feature — or don’t plan on buying a Chevrolet soon — we’ll have to continue living in the Mesozoic Era with our nuclear-hot iPhone 6 Pluses.

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68 Comments on “Chevrolet Adds Cell Phone Cooling Mat, Welcome To The Beginning of the End...”


  • avatar
    Rday

    I guess it is easier to talk about products nobody seems to need rather than improving the reliability of their products.

  • avatar

    So much better than adding heated/cooled seats with heated/cooled armrests…

    Who are these people and how do they stay in business?

    Unless you are charging a phone while simultaneously finalizing a video on iMovie, how hot is it that they think these things actually get?

    • 0 avatar
      S1L1SC

      pretty hot when you use them for navigation for hours at a time in 90+F outside temp and full sunlight.

      • 0 avatar

        Anyone using a smartphone for navigation has it mounted at eye level, rather then in the cubby.

        Get an iPad Mini LTE instead.

        • 0 avatar
          hreardon

          Not necessarily so, BTSR. I have friends who tuck them in the armrest and rely on the audio cues only.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            This – in the weather beater minivan from Hell it is mounted on the dash – and I purposely mounted it in a way the vent can blow a bit on it — it still gets hotter than the butthole of the sun, but hasn’t thermal protected shut down on me.

            In the G8 I use audio only through the integrated Bluetooth – heat isn’t an issue.

        • 0 avatar
          orenwolf

          Depends. with Carplay or the android equivalent. Your device can get hot despite the location of it.

          That being said, I would LOVE a cooling window mount, since I actually use your use case – I mount my phone on the window, and it gets HOT in the sun.

        • 0 avatar
          Lack Thereof

          This is my issue – my phone stays in a windshield mount when I’m using it for nav. And it gets plenty warm up there.

          However, on a recent trip to Phoenix, for the first time, it got hot enough to trigger a overheat warning and beg for mercy. In that case, It’s better for me to be able to drop it in an air-conditioned slot and still follow audio cues, rather than having it shut down out of self preservation.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        iPhone 5S here… gets a little warm at worst. But navigation sucks down batteries like you wouldn’t believe. If not plugged in, I can go through a full battery in less than 2 hours of navigation. If plugged in, I can’t actually charge while navigating because there’s no extra power left.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Using navigation while streaming Pandora all while charging, the Nexus 4 gets almost too hot to touch. The heat doesn’t seem to cause short term problems for it, so I don’t really care. Phones definitely heat up during what I think is pretty normal use though.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Same with my iPhone 6+

        Streaming Pandora through Bluetooth and Waze for navigation. Phone gets crazy hot – doesn’t thermal shutdown (at least not yet).

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Using navigation while streaming Pandora all while charging, the Nexus 4 gets almost too hot to touch. The heat doesn’t seem to cause short term problems for it, so I don’t really care”

        The N4 is an example of a phone with serious thermal issues; it might actually be causing you issues in the short term, between cutting battey lifetime to weakening the phone physically.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      2 things. First off, wireless charging in and of itself generates considerable heat so if you are going to include it cooling it isn’t the worst idea.

      Secondly if you are running Pandora and Waze and have the screen on then wireless probably Wont keep up anyway…it is convienent but very slow.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      Course one of those vent mounts does the same.thing and puts it at eye level.

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Seems like GM was the first auto company with many others to offer this same idea for a cooling mat very soon. Funny last week, I was using my cell phone for gps and it over heated. It was about 101 out and very sunny. Some that do not experience these drastic heat waves may not understand the need to keep their cell phones cool. But, I’ve heard this for years. Why don’t auto makers make a cooling area for phones. And GM was the first. Kinda brilliant for some and confusing for others.

  • avatar
    Cactuar

    That’ll attract them millennials!

  • avatar

    Mr. Cole: maybe next time you can ask them to add a coffee cup warmer.

    And welcome to TTAC!

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      This has existed for years – Ford has had it as an option in the recent past as a dealer add on – I believe GM and some of the Germans also.

      Option to warm hot drinks or cool cold drinks (and no I don’t mean the heated/cooled glove box – actual drink holders)

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      Thank you sir. I’m in the process of sending GM my Christmas list, which includes an automated warning light if other warning lights go out, a tire pressure gauge reminder light for the dash that lets me know if I’ve stowed my tire pressure gauge in the center armrest or the glove box, and a newly redesigned redesign of the Malibu’s redesign.

  • avatar
    ant

    Well the first three comments are negative about this, but I think it’s pretty dang useful.

    When me and my wife go places, she often has her iphone doing triple duty, as navigation, jukebox, and charging. It gets hot. Cooling it down is more useful in my opinion than electric motors embedded into errything like seats, door windows, locks, mirrors, doors, seatbelt adjusters, trunks, and so on.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      It’s a pretty reasonable idea: modern cellphones tend to hit some pretty high temperatures readily, and certain things like, eg, navigation (which pegs the GPU, CPU and cellular radio), using an app like Torque to pull OBD2 while driving or using your phone like a WiFi hotspot will put your phone at it’s thermal limits, at which point it will:

      * Slow down, which is annoying
      * Charge poorly, or fail to charge at all.

      Personally, I agree with you: I’d take a phone cooler over power seats (which adjust really slowly versus manual seats and are a real pain when they break) any day of the week.

  • avatar
    redav

    I didn’t know this was a thing.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I promise to stay off of your lawn.

  • avatar
    honda_lawn_art

    Anyone else find it neat when you drive an old car and charge your phone up via the cigarette lighter? I like to place my phone upside down in the ash tray while its charging.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I use a GPS speedometer app in my nearly 50 year old Mustang because the one in the car is so far off. It is pretty funny to look up and see a digital speedo sitting on the dash with a charger plugged into an actual cigarette lighter and not just a “power port.”

      • 0 avatar
        ReSa

        Principal, what app do you use for that? I have the same issue in my ’87 Alfa Spider! This would make my life so much better on sunny days :)

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          DigiHUD, it can either be used simply facing your phone toward you in a mount (portrait or landscape) or you can lay the phone on your dashboard and try to “project the image into your windshield in a heads-up display.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      “Anyone else find it neat when you drive an old car and charge your phone up via the cigarette lighter? I like to place my phone upside down in the ash tray while its charging.”

      Cripy, my car’s only five years old and I do that. :)

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    This is the kind of editorializing I was really hoping I wouldn’t see after yesterday’s confessional.

    Is this news? No.

    Is there any explanation of why you’d want to cool a phone? Like, how LiIon cells really do suffer outside temperature bracket, how most modern mobile SoCs will throttle aggressively at thermal limits? No.

    Is the snark really needed? No.

    Is the baiting of the get-off-my-lawn crowd really needed? No.

    I suppose I’m a sucker and a sourpuss for replying, but this is thin.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Glove compartments are pointless. I don’t wear gloves!

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I never, ever thought I would write this about one of your posts.

        You win the internet!

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Oh, can’t we compliment each other without first insulting?

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            Touche.

            Seriously – you’re right. It wasn’t called for – even more so because I do truly believe PCH101 and I have largely come to an understanding on our posting styles and value of each others posts.

            He/she is a smart guy with a lot of very good things to say – so thanks for calling me out.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Eh, I’m really not one to talk, APaGttH, I get cranky and pushy with commenters way more often than I should.

    • 0 avatar
      gomez

      I too was hoping that yesterday’s post meant an end to the snarkiness. Especially when the author has absolutely no idea wtf they are talking about. If you read the press release, this feature is being added to vehicles with wireless charging. Almost all wireless charging is done inductively and results in the device getting very warm. So yeah, the combination of wireless charging with another feature like GPS or media streaming could very well activate a phone’s thermal safeguards. And then the drivers will blame GM for selling a crappy media interface, when it is really the phone doing what it was designed to do.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        It wouldn’t be TTAC without GM snark.

        And before someone posts that is defense of GM – my 2014 Camaro convertible review I wrote for TTAC will apparently never see the light of day, but there is very little complementary in my review.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Did they at least repspond via e-mail?

          Derek personally requested a Citreon 2CV AMA from me ways back, I typed up several variations with no response.

          • 0 avatar
            APaGttH

            I got a maybe back – since then several UR turns published, offered to rewrite if they felt it was a mess. Put the Camaro through its paces on the Hana and Palani Highways.

            Would LOVE to read your review.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Bummer, I’d like to read both of these reviews.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I wouldn’t mind reading your Camaro review either, think you’ll upload it anywhere?

          I might put the 2CV review up on my twitter, dunno yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      This is basically a DOUG-BOT story but without 150 comments, not yet.

    • 0 avatar
      Aaron Cole

      Disagree. It’s news for two reasons: GM is standing on it with the “first ever”claim; second, enough people have asked for it to justify someone, somewhere dedicating 15 cents of molded plastic to engineer a solution.

      And snark? No. Humor? Yes. Kudos to GM for doing something about it, but like someone smarter than me commented: It’s like asking McDonald’s for a Tide stick after you got ketchup on your shirt.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        I’m still failing to see what makes this worthy of this much airtime and bile.

        People carry phones. Phones get hot. The cars have A/C installed in them. Routing a vent to where the phone is charging seems like a no-brainer.

        I am not particularly fond of most GM cars, but there has got to be something more worthy of the curmudgeon treatment than this.

  • avatar
    stars9texashockey

    spend the money on a better looking steering wheel instead

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      What money? The only reasonable way to do this is if there’s already an HVAC duct behind that panel. The piece of plastic trim that guides the air to the charging mat can’t cost more than a nickel.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Quit being poor and select the navigation option upon purchase and you won’t have this issue!

  • avatar
    readallover

    This seems the logical extension of the 4G LTE stuff they are hyping on their cars. Apparently they are not dissuaded by the other companies (Acura et al) that are trying to sell the public on tech in cars and failing miserably.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      4G LTE in a car is, well, not a smart thing. People keep phones for 3-4 years, and networking standards increment quite rapidly. People keep cars for 5-10 years.

      Ask owners of OnStar-equipped cars with AMPS modems about it.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        I could write quote the missive on the woes of trying to upgrade OnStar hardware and the unnecessary barriers that the folks at OnStar put up.

        With that said, I have been reading that OnStar will be offering upgrade hardware to at least as far back as 2010 models to add 4G LTE to OnStar equipped vehicles.

  • avatar
    TW5

    When your car is nicer than your house, it’s definitely the beginning of the end.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I use a windshield mount in my Highlander for my Samsung 5 Active. It makes BlueTooth calling and using Pandora/iHeartRadio easier. But I do aim one of the HVAC vents at the phone to keep it at an operating temperature.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I do the same thing in my van (noted above). Mounted on the windshield but in a way that the driver side vent can get a tiny bit of air on to it. Still gets hot.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        My AC must be more powerful than yours, that or having tinted windows everywhere but the windshield helps.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          Your AC is surely stronger.

          11 year old GM U-Body with 158K miles and the AC never serviced. I’m terrified to let anyone touch it in fear it will never work right again. Once the van is moving 10 to 15 minutes it runs ice cold — but it definitely is not as strong as 4-1/2 years ago.

          25% tint all around except the windshield. Regretting the 25% tint on the front driver and passenger window. It may be legal by RCW but it makes driving at night a ball of suck.

          • 0 avatar
            Exfordtech

            What if you run the HVAC in flr/def or def mode? Or would windshield condensation become an issue?

  • avatar
    7402

    If this is a sign of the end times, then you’ll need to reset the start clock to start with the 2001 MINI R50/R53 as they had an AC vent in the glove box.

    Seeing as nearly 15 model years have passed, this is hardly news.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    For my last job, I was heavily dependent on a work-issued iPhone. Between being outside all day (in temperatures ranging from around -40 to +40 Celsius), using that phone pretty much constantly, or plugging it in otherwise, I could have theoretically benefitted from something like this. Life will go on if I can’t access Facebook, but some people are dependent on technology for practical reasons.

  • avatar

    You could say I’m a GM fan, but the company’s ads are getting ridiculous. All it has done is tout its new 4G LTE services, which are probably overpriced. Really, GM, is that the *only* reason you can give me for why I should buy one of your cars? You do know I could just go to the AT&T store and pay a hundred bucks or so for one of those hotspots, right?

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Looks like a clever idea to me. My glove box has an AC vent that rarely gets used, but just yesterday it kept my candy bar cool and unmelted even in 104F heat and that made me quite happy to have it.

    The Camry XSE I tested the other day had this wireless charging mat and I thought that was a great idea too.

    Combine vent + nifty charge mat and you get a winner to me. Why the snark?

  • avatar
    the_yeti

    This is great for the future of Android Auto. Just drop the phone on the charging mat, its charging, the phone cast its screen to the Head Unit, and its kept cool.

    Win here

  • avatar

    Alternatively, they could put some Peltier devices in the charging pad, though that would probably cost more money to make and use more energy than a small A/C vent.

  • avatar
    VenomV12

    This is not a bad idea, when I am on longer drives sometimes I put my phone up to the AC vents to cool it down.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    I use my overclocked S3 as a dashcam/nav/media player/waze/trapster. It gets super hot while charging.

    Then again I’m one of those people that believes in convergence of auto tech. Nobody offers a dashcam + infotainement + nav all in one. I think they should.

    I should get one of those arduino/raspberry units going…

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