GM Ventures, the company’s venture capital subsidiary, will invest $5 million in Powermat to accelerate the technology’s development and support efforts to grow Powermat’s business globally.
Powermat’s technology allows electronic devices – smart phones, MP3 players and gaming devices – to be charged safely and efficiently, according to Powermat CEO Ran Poliakine.
The Chevrolet Volt, conceived as a reinvention of the automobile that would help reduce America’s dependence on oil, while providing the assurance of an extended driving range, will be one of the first GM vehicles to offer this technology. The technology is expected to revolutionize how electronic devices are charged in a car.
“Imagine a mat or shelf where you could put your iPhone, your Droid or other personal device and charge it automatically while you commute to work, run errands or as you’re driving on a family vacation,” said Micky Bly, GM’s lead electronics executive, including infotainment, hybrids and battery electric vehicles.
“The Chevy Volt will be one of the first applications, but we intend to expand it across our vehicle portfolio,” Bly said.
Powermat, a private firm, was founded in 2007 and offers wireless charging products for the home in a number of retail stores, including Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart.
Poliakine is excited to start with the Chevrolet Volt, which has swept major Car of the Year awards to date.
“GM is among the rarest of giants in today’s business climate: a forward-thinking innovator with the courage and good sense to care about the well-being of the consumer and the well-being of our planet,” Poliakine said.
Jon Lauckner, who helped create the Volt concept and now is President of GM Ventures, has been dreaming about a technology like Powermat for years.
“We first developed the Volt concept car in 2006,” Lauckner said. “The intent was to revolutionize every aspect of the car, not just the propulsion system. We had something like this in mind even then, and we think it will have widespread appeal.”
Powermat was the first company to perfect inductive-based wireless charging and to bring it to consumers in a widely available, meaningful way via mainstream retail channels. The undisputed leader in wireless charging, Powermat leads the category in all facets including technology, retail footprint, consumer experience, and brand.
Powermat allows users to enable their electronic devices once with a Powermat receiver and then set down up to three devices on the charging mat for fast, safe and effective wireless charging. It’s simple, effortless, and provides consumers with first-of-its-kind freedom from the need to constantly plug/unplug as well as the angst of running on empty.
General Motors Co. and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory announced today they have reached a worldwide licensing agreement to use Argonne’s patented composite cathode material to make advanced lithium-ion batteries that last longer between charges and can charge at higher voltages.