Tesla unveils its own $300 riff on Apple’s AirPower

Image for the article titled Tesla unveils its own $300 version of Apple's canceled AirPower charger

screenshot: Tesla

At the end of last month, Elon Musk decided to do so start a feud with apple. What feels like a million years later, Tesla has introduced a $300 wireless charging mat that promises some of the features that should be in Apple’s AirPower.

The concept for AirPower was simple: a mat that could wirelessly charge up to three devices without fiddling around to find the exact placement of the charging coils. The device was expected from Apple in 2017 and fans scratched their heads at its absence until the company officially came around called off it in 2019. “After much effort, we have concluded that AirPower will not meet our high standards and we have canceled the project,” Apple said in a statement at the time.

It was a little confusing that a company with Apple’s resources and talent couldn’t figure out how to accomplish what seemed a relatively simple task. So it’s reasonable to assume that Elon was teasing the Cupertino giants a bit with Thursday’s announcement Tesla’s wireless charging platform.

Unfortunately, this is just a very expensive repackaging of a charging system that has been around for a couple of years. Tesla used FreePower technology and give it a bit of a cybertruck aesthetic. FreePower licenses its position-free wireless charging design to other companies and it’s featured in well-reviewed devices like this one Nomad Base Station Pro. For most accounts, it works as advertised. You can just drop a device anywhere on the mat and receive 15W fast charging power. You can even move the device around without breaking the connection.

A depiction of the guts in Tesla's charging system.

A depiction of the guts in Tesla’s charging system.
screenshot: Tesla

In its 2020 review of Nomad Base Station, The Verge said that it “may one day be the future of wireless charging technology, right now the current version is just too expensive and limited.” The device cost $229 at the time. Nomad no longer produces this model, but still offers refurbished versions of it his site for $120.

While FreePower seems to have solved the positioning issue on a wireless charger, you still can’t slam an Apple Watch to the mat. These chargers only work with devices that are compatible with the Qi standard and the Apple Watch requires either the included magnetic puck or a MagSafe charger.

So Tesla hasn’t reached the standard that Apple initially wanted to reach (at the same time Charge iPhone, Apple Watch and AirPods), it hasn’t really developed the technology and charges an absolutely ridiculous price for its mat.

I can’t say for certain that this launch was solely intended to annoy Tim Cook. It’s entirely possible that Musk only wanted to circulate positive news about Tesla. The electric vehicle maker’s share price reached a new level two-year low on Friday as investors Concerns about Musk’s unique attention on Twitter have reached a boiling point.

There are two big ones Problems at Tesla: Elon continues to sell off worth billions of dollars Stick and its right wing politics are turn off the people most likely to buy an electric vehicle (liberals and people who believe in climate change). The fact that Tesla started offer a $7,500 Discount on two of his models this week only served to intensify investors Issue.

An overpriced charge mat won’t reverse Tesla’s fortunes, but if you really want one, you can pre-order it here and they will reportedly begin shipping in February. Just remember that it’s the recharging equivalent of applying a new coat of paint a roof flare and call it a flamethrower.

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