Wireless charging platform Qi lands its second automaker

The Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi charging technology will be making its way into Korean automaker Ssangyong’s future vehicles. Ssangyong isn’t revealing which car model it will embed the wireless charging surface in, but at Mobile World Congress this week the WPC is demonstrating how the technology will be implemented in Ssangyong’s future interior console designs.

Ssangyong doesn’t have quite the international pedigree of the WPC’s first car partner Toyota(s tm), but in an automotive market that traditionally takes years to plan and develop its products, the fact that Qi is making headway with any carmakers is nothing to scoff at. While the Qi platform has seen interest from many automakers, some are going to faster than others in adopting the technology, said Peter Hoehne, VP of sales and marketing for Leggett & Platt, which designed the automotive charging system.

Some are introducing Qi at the beginning of the design and development process, meaning their Qi-enabled cars won’t be out for several years, Hoehne said. Meanwhile, others are choosing to include the technology into vehicles relatively late in their development processes, he said. That was the approach Toyota adopted for the Avalon, getting the technology into its most recent 2013 model for the North American market.

Instead of relying on a cord, Qi uses induction to transfer an electric charge to your mobile phone. Typically users buy a separate charging pad they can place their phones, but in a few cases the technology is getting embedded directly into furniture and on other surfaces people are likely to place their phones. There are now 36 different Qi-integrated or Qi-ready devices, according to the WPC. Many of them, like the Samsung Galaxy S III, don’t support the technology out of the box, but require customers to buy a separate battery back plate embedded with the Qi receiver coils.