Toyota recently announced that they will be incorporating a wireless charging feature for mobile phones on their 2013 Avalon Sedan. The company will be using the Qi wireless charging standard which is promoted by the Wireless Power Consortium and includes members such as Nokia, Samsung, Sony, Verizon Wireless, Energizer, Belkin and Motorola.
Toyota will thus become the world’s first car manufacturer to adopt the Qi wireless charging standard. The Avalon sedan which made its way to showrooms earlier this month will be able to charge any mobile device that is Qi compatible. Another vehicle which will offer a wireless charging solution is Chrysler’s Dodge Dart which is set to hit the market next year however it will only come as an aftermarket option and will cost an extra $200.
Because wireless charging is still a new technology a lot of major car manufacturers are still cautious in adopting it. Mercedes Benz and BMW, two brands which are known for quickly adopting the latest technology, are still in a wait and see attitude. Even General Motors that bought one of the leading companies in inductive charging has not incorporated the feature into their own models yet.
One main reason why wireless charging isn’t fully adopted by car manufacturers is because of the competing charging protocols. Aside from Qi there is also the Power Matters Alliance which is a different protocol being supported by AT&T, Google and Starbucks. A mobile device that can be charged using Qi may not be charged using PMA and vice versa.
Toyota’s support to Qi will make the protocol more popular. A total of 34 mobile phones will be integrated with this technology which includes the Google Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X with more devices coming soon.
Experts are predicting a huge increase in the wireless power market in the next couple of years. This year alone the revenue generated is US$457 million with estimates of it growing to US$7 billion by 2017.