2016 Toyota Mirai: Qi Wireless Phone Charging
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on May 19, 2016
The 2016 Toyota Mirai is one of several new Toyota vehicles that comes with a Qi-compatible wireless phone charging pad. Different cabins locate the pad in different areas. In the Mirai's case, the charging pad is concealed inside the center armrest bin.
It sounds like a brilliant idea. Toss your phone on the pad, press the on button and *boom* your phone is charging without a cord.
But there is a catch, and it has led to complaints — especially among iPhone users. Your phone must have designed-in wireless charging capability or be fitted into a phone case or other adapter that is compatible. Apple iPhones up to and including the 6s do not have wireless charging capability, and some Toyota buyers were not made aware of the finer points of how the Qi charging pad works (or doesn't) before they bought their new car.
The iPhone problem can be rectified with a Qi-compatible phone case, which includes some newer Mophie backpack extended battery cases. Still, your case choices are limited.
But there is another way.
Get a phone that has built-in wireless charging. The Samsung Galaxy S7 is such a phone, and it takes things a step farther by charging at a far quicker rate than other models.
To let you know it's working, the screen emits a weird expanding ring when you first lay it on the dock. Then it goes to sleep while the phone continues to charge. The case situation can rear its ugly head in a different way here, though. Certain thicker cases can interfere with the charging process.
You can continue using a phone that's charging on a Qi pad, but in the Mirai you'd have to poke at the phone with the center armrest flipped open.
This is why many people dislike the whole wireless pad charging concept. A cord allows a charging phone to be handled and used when parked, or by a passenger while moving. And you'll want to use a cord anyway if you want to connect your iPhone to the audio system to listen to music or podcasts. Do that and your phone will charge anyway.
Perhaps the Qi wireless charging pad isn't such a big deal after all.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,345 miles