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Chrysler announces wireless phone charger

Charge account: Just put your phone down on the charge mat and it will recharge while you drive.

Ground-breaking wireless in-car phone charger available on Dodge Dart within months

11 Apr 2012

CHRYSLER is claiming an industry first by introducing a wireless in-car phone charger in the new Dodge Dart to be released in the United States in the second quarter of this year.

The new technology will be offered as a dealer-fitted option for $US200 ($A195) and therefore will also attract a charge for installation.

Rival US car-maker General Motors invested $US5 million early last year in Powermat, a similar product that is commercially available for home and office use.

GM displayed the technology at a US electronic show in 2011, but has yet to announce specific availability. It is expected to offer the technology first in the Chevrolet Volt electric car from mid-2012.

Audi is believed to have been the first company to display a wireless in-car charger, at the SEMA show in Las Vegas in November 2010, but has yet to offer it commercially.

The Chrysler system is to be offered by its Mopar parts and accessories division, and involves fitment of a wired-in pad located in the bin at the bottom of the centre stack, just in front of the gearshift. It measures 21cm by 8cm.

This power mat has a spooled induction coil, creating a low-power electromagnet that charges a smartphone (or other portable electronic device such as a Blackberry or iPod) when placed onto it, eliminating extraneous wires or adapters.

 center imageLeft: Dodge Dart.

However, the phone must be kept in a special case designed for a variety of smartphones. The case is supplied with the kit but curiously is not fitted to the phone in the photo supplied by Chrysler.

“At Mopar, we look for every single opportunity to make our customers’ lives easier,” said Mopar president and CEO Pietro Gorlier.

“Our industry-first in-vehicle wireless charging system is the perfect solution for those connected customers who are always on the go.”

Mopar says the wireless in-car charger is just the latest in a number of industry-first features introduced by the company, claiming to have been the first to introduce electronic owner manuals, vehicle-information smartphone apps, electronic vehicle tracking and Wi-Fi to their cars.

Launched at the Detroit auto show I January, the Dodge Dart is based on the front-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo Giulietta and is the result of both companies now being part of the Fiat Group.

Chrysler Australia, which now controls Alfa Romeo in this country, is keen to bring the small sedan Down Under but has yet to mount a successful business case – along with other right-hand-drive markets – for RHD production.

In the meantime, Chrysler Australia has ordered sample wireless charging kits for local assessment before deciding whether to offer the feature here.

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