Toyota introduces Qi wireless charging

Posted by Ken Kola

Next year, Toyota plans to introduce Qi wireless charging to its new Avalon, allowing tdrivers to recharge their phones simply by tossing it onto a mat.

The feature comes as part of a $1,950 'technology package', which also includes dynamic radar cruise control, automatic high beams and a pre-collision system. It's available for both gasoline and hybrid models of the car.

"Pioneering the ability to charge with no wires or connectors by simply putting devices in the car console is an intuitive innovation which reflects Toyota’s continuing commitment to improve the consumer experience," says Randy Stephens, chief engineer of Toyota Avalon.

Qi allows devices to be charged by placing them on - or even just near - a special Qi-enabled mat. It's the global standard for wireless power and charging, supported by over 34 models of cellphone, including the new LG Google Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC Windows Phone 8X.  

But it works with other types of product too, including everything from Blu-ray Disc recorders to alarm clocks and battery packs.
 
In the case of the Avalon, the charging pad is integrated into the 'ebin' lid in the car’s central console. There's an 'on' switch under the lid, and a high-friction surface is designed to make sure the phone doesn't fall off.
 
"We see wireless charging as an important feature that helps enhance the high-technology theme," says Stephens.