Chevy's Cool New Option Prevents Smartphone Overheating


How’s this for an option: an air conditioner for your smartphone? We know what you’re thinking — #firstworldproblems — but try to reserve your skepticism. It’s actually rather practical.

Recognizing motorists’ ever-increasing reliance on their smartphones, Chevrolet is addressing the issue of mobile devices malfunctioning or shutting down due to overheating with its new Active Phone Cooling option.

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Overheating occurs for several reasons, such as a particularly taxing app or function that strains the device’s data and graphics processors, or even just charging. Throw in a hot summer day and the resulting oven effect inside a car’s cabin, and you’ve got ideal conditions for an interruption to your smartphone functions, including its ability to charge — not a good situation if you’re, say, using your phone for navigation in an unfamiliar place. That’s in addition to the potential for permanent damage to the lithium ion batteries that power your phone.

Chevy’s solution: Active Phone Cooling, debuting this summer on the 2016 Chevrolet Impala and later this year on the 2016 Malibu, followed by the 2016 Volt and Cruze, all of which must be equipped with optional wireless charging.

“An air vent connected directly to the car’s air conditioning and ventilation system is directed to the charging bin where the phone rests for wireless charging, sending cool air to help lower the phone’s temperature,” GM explained in a statement. “Active Phone Cooling operates only when the HVAC system is turned on by the driver.”

Seems simple enough. No word yet, though, on whether there will be a dual climate control option for spouses who can never agree on a comfortable smartphone temperature.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers. Email Matt Schmitz

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