LAS VEGAS--At CES 2011, GM announced it would include Powermat's charging technology in its entire vehicle line-up, starting with the Chevy Volt. We took a close-up look of how Powermat implemented the technology.
Powermat put a Chevy Volt in its booth space at CES with its charging pads in front and back. This setup was conceptual, and GM will finalize the placement of the charging pads later. But the front pad, placed on the top of the center console, seemed a likely place. A pad between the rear seats is a less likely implementation, as GM probably would not compromise the seating room.
For its demonstration setup, Powermat had an HTC phone fitted with one of its inductive power backs. The power back was very thin, adding very little to the size of the phone. The company offers inductive power backs and cases for just about every major smartphone.
The inductive connection between pad and power back is magnetic, so the phone snaps into place. Although the magnetic connection is a side-effect, it is perfect for cars as it keeps the phone in place while the car goes over speed bumps, takes corners, and stops.
As we put the phone into place, it immediately began charging. Although Powermat offered no hard figures as to charging rate, a spokeswoman suggested that it charges faster than a wired connection.
GM's intention to implement Powermat in all of its models should ensure wide use of the technology.