Europe’s CE4A Recommends use of Qi Wireless Charging by Auto Makers

September 03, 2013 by Jeff Shepard

Experts from Consumer Electronics for Automotive (CE4A) have agreed to recommend use of the Qi® standard from the Wireless Power Consortium as the preferred wireless charging method for use in automobiles. CE4A is a working group of automobile manufacturers founded in 2006 for the purpose of advancing the standardization of mobile device interfaces. German carmakers like Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen contribute to CE4A, which operates under the umbrella of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

Data transmission via Bluetooth has already proven its value in automobiles and established itself as the accepted standard; now wireless charging will remove the final physical connection between smartphones and cars. The recommendation of CE4A provides that the user must simply place his or her mobile telephone at a specific location in the vehicle for the charging process to begin automatically.

Once the battery is fully charged or the smartphone is removed, charging stops automatically as well. Energy transmission is also interrupted when the distance becomes too great or metal objects come between the device and the charging station. The principle of contactless energy transmission is based on electromagnetic induction and is already used to charge electric toothbrushes, for example. The first Qi®-compliant smartphones are already on the market.

The CE4A committee has been observing and examining the development of various charging standards since 2010. The CE4A's observations, discussions, and workshops focused on, among others, Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP®), the Power Matters Alliance (PMA®), and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC®) with its Qi® standard.

CE4A generated requirements that must be fulfilled for use in automobiles. These relate to installation space, usage profiles, electromagnetic compatibility, and safety, for example. In addition, the standard must be ready for future requirements and offer potential for further development and commercialization as well as have global distribution and the acceptance of handset makers and wireless providers.

Based on these considerations, CE4A recommended its members to use the Qi® standard in current and future vehicle models. Qi® is a standard from the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC®), which currently represents more than 150 companies, with membership continuing to increase. Any electrical device that fulfils the Qi® standard can be charged wirelessly at any Qi® station. The first vehicles with the Qi® standard have been on the market since early 2013.