Automakers have run out of great ideas. The base model commuter car has all the power, including Apple CarPlay, wifi, automatic emergency braking and radar cruise control. As the grade goes up, you get leather, a sunroof, heated seats and a whole host of other features that Mercedes didn’t have 15 years ago. But companies want to pay for top trim, so they’re starting to add things that are either completely unnecessary or, in the case of wireless phone charging, don’t really work.
In essence, promises are simple, even when in doubt. A wireless charger saves you from the humiliation of having to plug in a cable. All it asks in return is a few hundred bucks, a good chunk of center console space in your car, and a spot-perfect placement. Plus, like some kind of farmer he should buy a car with a wireless version of his Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, unless he wants to use Bluetooth audio. Heaven forbid.
However, there are two main problems. The first is that it doesn’t work. The second is that even if it is, it is not.
Wireless charging is confusing in stationary environments. With no physical connection to secure it, there’s no obvious way to know exactly where to put your phone. There is a 1 second delay while the phone waits to confirm placement and start charging. If you make a mistake, pick it up, readjust it, and try again. Then the time and convenience advantages of wireless charging are lost. Since the invention of reversible Lightning and USB-C charging cables, no quality wired charger needs a second try.
When I make things work on my desk, I avoid touching them for fear of disrupting the delicate connections. You can’t do it by car. The majority of factory wireless chargers are flat pads sized to fit any phone, so they cannot be effectively held by any model. Forget canyon carvings. A 30 mph on-ramp provides enough G-force to disconnect. The pad will automatically deactivate if you put anything in it that contains metal, such as a wallet, change, or keys. After all, firing a lot of electricity at metal in the area is inherently unsafe.Twenty years after the Qi standard is gone, these rubberized pads are anything but a “fire hazard”. will be of no use to you. Not that they are much better now.
Some companies solve this with clever gripping devices. The new Prius has a laterally mounted slot along the gear lever with a movable plastic gripper like a cup holder. Finally, I thought my quest was over. I drop my phone and… blink, blink, blink. Error code. No charging. Perhaps it’s because the phone’s back glass cracked, or because it’s in a (thin, wireless-safe) case. Either way, I finally got it working, but later I looked down and realized the charger was disconnected from my phone. , so if charging fails, you won’t know until you reach your destination and the battery is empty.
Second, the same fate can occur even if the connection works. The best wireless charger I’ve used was the 2019 BMW M2, which used a spring-assisted sliding gripper to hold the phone to the charger, itself tucked into the center console. The hassle of plugging it into a charger was just as cumbersome as using wires, but at least it worked.
The real problem with wireless charging is how badly the phone charges. Like most new car buyers, if you have an iPhone, your phone doesn’t support the fastest wireless charging speeds. That top speed is only achievable with Apple-made chargers. Because Apple doesn’t trust someone else to put that much heat into their batteries.Android owners have more fast-charging options, but the 80-watt wireless fast charger I’m not going to buy a car with it.
What you get is a low rated pad good for steady trickles of energy. Even if it worked, your phone would charge much slower than a wired connection. consume as much. In my experience, the energy input from a wireless charger barely covers the energy needs of a phone running wireless CarPlay, GPS, and lossless audio streaming.
Even if you made the connection right, even if you had a good charger, even if you didn’t remove it, even if you had the right case and phone, you’d still likely get to your destination. I mean An hour of driving will increase the battery he by 1-2%. We often arrived for less than the first time.
The reward for all this hassle is using wireless CarPlay. It’s exactly like wired CarPlay, but about three times more likely to fail mysteriously. If it breaks down, unplugging the phone and plugging it back in won’t immediately reset it. After this happens his third time on a road trip, the wires start looking pretty clean.
Optimistically speaking, we know it’s possible to build a great wireless charger that’s powerful enough to actually charge your phone and safe enough to charge stably. The charger in question was located in the center console of my Rolls-Royce Cullinan. This SUV is ridiculously expensive and demands perfection. And I thought I found the answer. A combination of high power, low ventilation, and Bluetooth streaming caused the phone to overheat during calls. It took him 9 minutes for my phone to cool down enough to use.
Ah, the luxury of life without wires.