Multi-standard wireless charger adoption by General Motors to drive sales of enabled smartphones

Key Points

  • Adoption of in-cabin wireless power transmitters which support multiple standards is predicted to accelerate in 2015.
  • 50 million wireless charging enabled mobile phones are forecast to ship in 2014. Adoption is predicted to accelerate further as infrastructure supporting multiple standards expands.
  • Consumer and OEM frustration and confusion over incompatible wireless charging solutions driven by competing standards will ease as multi-standard solutions develop further.

IHS Analysis

Solutions to remove barriers for adoption of wireless charging driven by competing standards are finally being implemented in commercial applications. Whilst solutions to enable wireless charging products which support multiple standards have been commercially available for a while, this is one of the first examples of a multi-mode wireless charging transmitter in production. Whilst this will amount to relatively low shipments of wireless charging transmitter units over the next five years, we believe it is a significant move in both increasing wireless charging awareness and infrastructure as well as the use of a solutions that provides interoperability for the user.

Providing multi-standard support helps GM future-proof the vehicles rather than implementing just one standard at a time where multiple standards are battling for domination in both infrastructure and end-equipment. We see this as a smart move by GM and one which is likely to be followed by other OEMs in the short-term.

PMA’s Infrastructure expands without penalising existing Qi adopters

Powermat’s wireless charging technology is built to the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) specification. Infrastructure for PMA based wireless charging is increasing, demonstrated most recently in announcements from Starbucks regarding a nationwide rollout of Powermat charging stations in its US stores. A large number of wireless charging enabled mobile phones, tablets and other consumer electronic devices, however, use solutions based on the longer established Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) ‘Qi’ standard. With many consumers already owning devices and wireless chargers that use the Qi standard this causes added frustration and confusion as products built to different standards are incompatible with each other. It may be comforting to these consumers that the full-size models from General Motors (GM) will support both PMA and Qi enabled devices.


General Motors and Powermat announced yesterday that  wireless charging technology will be adopted in a number of Cadillac models starting with the 2015 model ATS sport sedan and coupe launching this fall. Wireless charging support for Powermat and other wireless charging systems will be provided. IHS forecasts that almost 67,000 Cadillac ATS models will be sold globally in 2015 with this growing to almost 78,000 in 2018. It’s likely only a small number of these, however, will initially be sold with the optional wireless charging. Following its introduction into the ATS, wireless charging technology will also be added as an option to CTS, Escalade and other full-size GM models later this year.