Car manufacturers at one point were behind the times when it came to implementing new technology, largely due to the high-price of R&D and cost scalability. Now, many manufacturers like General Motors have decided to lead by example by rolling out a barrage of new tech features like OnStar 4G LTE, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Both features can be used with the vast majority of phones on the market (Apple & Android) and they serve to fill a gap customers want filled already – seamless cellphone integration. It was a safe bet that is bound to please many customers. But what about installing features that customers have yet to embrace, like wireless phone charging?
General Motors, Audi, Toyota, Lexus, and BMW have already rolled-out or will introduce vehicles with wireless charging pads and, as Automotive News reports, many industry experts see it as a gamble.
The problem lies in the fact that both cell companies and customers alike have yet to prioritize the feature. The biggest hurdle, however, is the fact no one charging station will work with all phones. As no charging standard has been adopted thus far, be it through the SAE or what have you.
Actually, it may come down to Apple, which has yet to introduce a phone with wireless charging (sorry, iPhone 6S and 6S Plus users). Samsung has designed the new Galaxy S6 to charge wirelessly using the Qi charging system, while Microsoft (which holds a fraction of smartphone market share) has also done the same with the Lumia.
Car companies are afraid that Apple will introduce a propriety standard, just like it did with its Lightning charge cable and Thunderbolt input/output display.
Plus, few phone companies offer wireless charging out of the package. However, there are third-party options in the form of wireless charging cases and sticky receivers that mount to the back of the phone.
Currently, the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, Cadillac Escalade, 2016 Cadillac CTS line, 2016 Cadillac ELR and the Cadillac ATS line are all endowed with a wireless charge tray mounted in the center console, while a slew of other 2016 model year GM products will also feature the magic tray. The question is: is it worth it?
We’ll have to wait and see what Apple does with wireless charging and how manufacturers react before we can make that assessment.