New vehicle models have been incorporating smartphones into their design, primarily for powering cloud-based services like navigation and Internet radio. The new Toyota Avalon offers a different type of smartphone integration: Toyota says its the first car in the world with an in-console Qi wireless charging unit.
The Technology Package, available on the 2013 Avalon Limited model, offers the Qi wireless pad in addition to other equipment, including radar-based cruise control and automatic high beams. The Qi pad is integrated into the Ebin lid in the center console, allowing users to drop and charge a Qi-enabled device. According to Toyota's press release, Qi hardware is offered on 34 phone models, including the LG Google Nexus 4 and HTC Windows Phone 8X.
The new Avalon, which was restyled for the 2013 model year, arrived at dealerships this month. It is available with a 3.5-liter V6 engine or 2.5-liter four-cylinder with Hybrid Synergy Drive. The latter delivers 40 mpg (5.9 L/100km) combined.