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Dodge Dart Gets First Factory Wireless Charging System

Chevy, other makers plan to follow.

by on Apr.10, 2012

The new wireless charging system that will be offered on the 2013 Dodge Dart sedan.

This story was revised to correct details about the wireless charging system used in the Dart and by other manufacturers.

If you’ve ever tried to charge up your iPhone or MP3 player only to discover the wire is missing, Dodge has a neat solution it plans to introduce with the upcoming launch of the compact Dart sedan: a wireless charge pad.

The system is similar to devices such as the popular Powermat now available for home use.  And several aftermarket suppliers have been offering similar systems.  But Dodge will be the first to offer a factory wireless charging system – with several other makers, such as Chevrolet, ready to follow.

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Technically, the charging system isn’t exactly a factory system.  It’s being offered by Chrysler’s parts and service division, Mopar, and can be installed at the dealership or at home, note our friends at Autoblog.  But as it’s designed specifically for use in the new Dart, that’s a minor quibble.

“At Mopar, we look for every single opportunity to make our customers’ lives easier,” said Pietro Gorlier, President and CEO of Mopar, Chrysler Group LLC’s service, parts and customer-care brand. “Our industry-first in-vehicle wireless charging system is the perfect solution for those connected customers who are always on the go.”

The $199.99 system is mounted in the bin immediately in front of the Dart’s shifter.  It contains a special electrical grid that provides power through connections on the back of a special case.  That’s in sharp contrast to the induction system used by most other wireless cellphone charging systems – a method also commonly used for cordless electric toothbrushes and razors where it can be a problem to leave exposed electrical connections.

To use the system, a cellphone or music player must be mounted inside a specially-designed case.  Place the package onto the grid and it begins charging automatically.  And, with a Bluetooth link it’s never necessary to hardwire the phone or MP3 player to the car.

A number of other manufacturers are looking at the use of wireless charging systems, including Chevrolet, though they are expected to adopt the so-called Qi inductive charging system.  Chevy plans to eventually offer the technology on models including the new Malibu and Impala, locating the power grid inside the hidden cubbyholes behind the LCD infotainment screens used in the sedans.

Nissan’s Infiniti division, meanwhile, demonstrated a wireless charging system for battery-electric vehicles during its NY Auto Show media preview, last week. The system is likely to be offered as a standard feature on the production version of the Infiniti LE battery car, due to market by 2014, and may also be offered on the Nissan Leaf.

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