Mercedes-Benz recently announced that its new E-Class will support Qi wireless charging through a Qi transmitter that will be installed on the center console’s front part. This is exciting news for soon-to-be E-Class owners—they’ll get to enjoy the convenience of charging their smartphone just by placing it on top of the charging area. No need for messy wires and cables. Pretty neat, eh?
Mercedes-Benz’s Qi inductive charging area measures 153 x 90 millimeters, which supports all mobile devices that pass the Qi standard. What is this standard and how will you know if your mobile device meets the requirements? Think of the Qi as the Wi-Fi or Bluetooth of wireless inductive charging (its counterpart is the PMA charging stations found in many Starbucks outlets). You’ll have to find a “Qi spot” if you want to charge your phone this way. But before doing so, check if your phone is Qi-enabled. For iPhone users, you can simply enjoy the wireless charging with Latitude case.
*Note regarding use in vehicles: While the Latitude works seamlessly with the Qi/PMA transmitter, the wireless charging pad in current every vehicle model is too small to accommodate the iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus (or any similarly large handset). This issue does not affect users with smaller handsets including the iPhone 6 and 6s.
Wirelessly charging a mobile phone in the E-Class works quite similarly to wireless chargers such as the Prelude and Futura X. The smartphone has to be placed above the built-in Qi plate or any specific location near it. Charging stops automatically when the phone’s battery is full, eliminating the risk of overcharging. It does the same when the device is removed from the location, so there’ll be no problems with that spot going haywire.
Note that energy transmission is blocked when the device is placed too far from the charging area or when metal objects come in between it and the phone. So it’s important to put the phone close enough to the source and avoid placing coins or other metals on top of the charging station.
Other electrical devices on top of the charging area can also be charged as long as they fulfill the 2 Qi standard.
Aside from hassle-free charging on-the-go, in-car wireless charging offers another benefit: if it is used with a smartphone’s Near Field Communication (NFC) feature, the phone can double as a digital vehicle key that can be used to lock, unlock, and start the E-Class.
With Mercedes-Benz jumping on the in-car wireless charging bandwagon of the likes of Lexus and BMW, fans of the German luxury carmaker and gadget enthusiasts have something to look forward to next year. Whether the E-Class’ wireless charging technology will live up to expectations or not remains to be seen.