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Ford Will Add Wireless Charging To New Cars

Ford Will Add Wireless Charging To New Cars

2016-03-22 11:36:50

The auto industry is charged up about wireless charging.


Led by Toyota, which first offered wireless charging in the 2013 Toyota Avalon, American auto giants Fiat-Chrysler and General Motors currently include wireless charging as an option in more than a dozen vehicle models. Audi will launch its first car with wireless charging, the Q7 SUV, in Europe this summer.


In an interview with Forbes.com, Jim Buczkowski, Ford’s director of electrical and electronics research, said America’s number two automaker has decided on a wireless charging strategy as well, though he declined to provide specific details. Ford has said previously that the technology was not ready.


“We have a strategy that we will roll out,” said Buczkowski. “We think it will be the most compatible strategy.” Buczkowski added that Ford wanted to be as “agnostic” as possible regarding competing wireless charging standards, but he indicated that the company would support a standard promoted by an industry group known as the Alliance for Wireless Power or the A4WP.


The A4WP was founded by Qualcomm and Samsung to promote an approach to wireless charging that is known as magnetic resonance. The approach promised the ability to charge multiple devices with greater spatial freedom, but it has proven tricky to implement. Two years after the group released the standard, there are still no products commercially available that are built and certified to the specification.



Other automakers have opted for a standard known as Qi, which is supported by the Wireless Power Consortium, or in General Motor’s case, a combination of Qi and PMA, which is backed by a third group known as the Power Matters Alliance. (If this is starting to sound confusing, the three standards groups are in the process of becoming two, with the PMA merging with the A4WP, leaving only the A4WP and the WPC.)


Nick Sitarski, manager of electronics systems at Toyota, said Toyota originally chose Qi because it was the only open standard. Around the same time, an influential European working group known as the CE4A also recommended Qi to its members. The CE4A is made up of Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagon.


Qi has proven to be a safe bet. The majority of smartphones with built-in wireless charging on the market today are compatible with Qi, including Samsung’s new flagship phone, the Galaxy S6. Apple does not formally support Qi, but the Apple Watch appears to be compatible with Qi, according to video bloggers who have charged a Qi device on the Apple Watch pad.


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