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Wireless device charging included on Toyota Avalon

The Apple iPhone is not yet compatible with system, which is now available on the 2013 Limited model.

By AutoWeek Dec 20, 2012 9:30AM

The 2013 Toyota Avalon Limited will offer the first application of Qi technology in its cars. Qi—pronounced chee—is the new global standard for wireless charging.

It will let owners place their phones on a non-slip pad and charge them without using any wires. Before you get too excited, the Apple iPhone is not equipped to use this technology.

The wireless charging pad is integrated into what Toyota calls the “ebin” in the vehicle's center console. It's activated with a switch beneath the lid.

Qi charging is now integrated into 34 mobile phones including the Google Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920 and HTC Windows Phone 8X. But again, no iPhone. A few companies make cases for the iPhone 3 and 4 that do work with the system.

Lots of other products are currently using Qi, and we expect many more in the near future. Right now Qi-enabled video game controllers, Blu-Ray recorders, speakers and alarm clocks can be found. Soon we might see these charging pads in tables and other furniture. Imagine setting your phone down on your coffee table while you eat dinner, you pick it up, and it's fully charged.

“Pioneering the ability to charge with no wires or connectors by simply putting devices in the car console is an intuitive innovation,” said Randy Stephens, chief engineer of Toyota Avalon. “We see wireless charging as an important feature that helps enhance the high-technology theme and consumer interface offered by Avalon Limited which is already equipped with three color screens and Intellitouch controls.”

The new Avalon starts at $31,785 including destination; the Limited bumps the price to $40,445. All sedans get a 268-hp V6 and six-speed automatic transmission. The Avalon has an EPA-estimated combined fuel economy of 25 mpg and is on sale now.

-- Jake Lingeman

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