CES 2021

Coils in this wireless smartphone charger move closer to your device for best results

A new technology by Panasonic charges a smartphone uniquely.

Photo courtesy of Panasonic Automotive

Most wireless phone chargers currently installed in vehicles require a phone to be docked loosely into a specific area - to touch a certain area of the charging pad. If the phone shifts while going around a turn or because of a rough road, the phone loses its charge until you move it back into place. It can be as annoying as it sounds, especially at night when the phone lights up every time its charge status changes.

New in-vehicle wireless charging technology announced by Panasonic Automotive today changes up the wiring behind traditional wireless charging technology in an innovative way. The two types, moving coil and static coil, allow devices to be recharged quickly while vehicles turned on.

The moving coil charge variant of the wireless charging pad has patent pending tracking technology that targets a device once it's in the tray. The coil moves into the optimum position to align with the mobile device's charging coil and begins charging with 15 watts of charging power, one of the highest rates of charge in the industry. In addition to being able to move toward the device in need of charging, the technology has better coupling capability when compared to other wireless charging systems.

The company says that the new tech meets or exceeds most current in-vehicle charging systems.

Many new vehicles offer available wireless charging. Nearly all offer cabled charging via a USB Type A or USB Type C charging port. These wireless charging trays are frequently located at the front of the center console while others sit inside the console or require a phone to fit into a charging slot in the console.

For the 2021 model year, Hyundai began offering wireless charginng with cooling fans that work to alleviate the problem of high-heat generation that occurs while charging at higher speeds for prolonged periods of time. High temperatures may cause a device to stop working and a charger to malfunction.

In order for the system to cahrge a smartphone, the phone must be wireless charging compatible.

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New electric pickup truck

Ford F-150 Lightning will charge other EVs

The F-150 Lightning and F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid offer charging abilities for other EVs.

Ford

This year is the year of the electric truck, as there have been several new models announced and two released. The Ford F-150 Lightning won’t be here until next year, but today, Ford outlined the truck’s impressive electric power capabilities. Even the F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid truck has plenty to like and offers many of the same benefits.

Ford Electric Trucks Both trucks feature an onboard generator.Ford

The F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid and F-150 Lightning offer charging capabilities that can help another EV owner out in a pinch. Ford says the vehicles can add up to 20 miles of range per hour to the Mustang Mach-E with RWD and up to 13 miles of charging hour for the F-150 Lightning. The trucks deliver Level 2 charging speeds, and the PowerBoost Hybrid’s available 7.2-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard generator can power tools and other equipment, while the F-150 Lightning will debut with an available 9.6 kilowatt generator.

The F-150 PowerBoost Hybrid saw action as a generator during last year’s major winter storms in Texas and elsewhere. As owners’ homes lost power, their trucks were able to step in and handle power duties for small appliances and even home heating systems. The move to include the capability in the upcoming F-150 Lightning is a smart one, as many automakers include some degree of power output for their EVs, but a truck’s life is filled with times when a power source is a big bonus.

Ford Electric Trucks Level 2 charging speeds are possible.Ford

These are neat features, to be sure, but they’re not just a novelty. Ford notes that the F-150 Lightning can power an average home for up to thre days in the event of a major power outlet. Without the need to carry a large engine under its hood, the truck also features a massive front trunk, or frunk, that offers multiple power outlets on top of a lockable 14 cubic-foot storage space.

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Electric vehicle concepts

Nissan shows off new concepts and plans for future EVs

Nissan showed off a group of funky concept vehicles at the announcement.

Nissan

Nissan is approaching the release of Ariya, its brand-new EV, but there are plans for much more in the automaker’s near future. Today, the Japanese company announced Nissan Ambition 2030, its plan to develop electrified vehicles and become a more sustainable company. Beyond new vehicles, the roadmap includes investments in battery recycling and charging infrastructure, new battery tech, and more widespread safety technologies.

Nissan Ambition 2030 The automaker plans for 50 percent electrification by 2030.Nissan

Nissan’s plans include 23 new electrified models by 2030. The target covers 15 new EVs and a target of 50 percent electrification. The automaker says it plans to launch a proprietary solid-state battery by 2028, and notes that it will develop a pilot production facility in Yokohama, Japan by 2024. Solid state technologies are not yet commercially viable but will offer faster charging times and better energy densities than lithium ion battery packs.

Nissan Surf-Out Concept Surf-Out is a concept truck with super funky styling.Nissan

While the focus was on the news of its electrification plans, Nissan’s concept vehicles stole the show. The Surf-Out concept truck features a long, low cargo surface and unique all-terrain tires. Typical of concept cars, the Surf-Out’s styling and design are over-the-top. The cabin is surrounded on three sides by glass and open to the bed in the rear. Instead of a grille, there’s a glass panel with an illuminated Nissan logo. It's unlikely Surf-Out or the other concepts shown will make it to production unchanged, but they show that the automaker is looking to explore bold designs with its electrified vehicles.

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