Is in-car power in reverse?


Car makers are starting to integrate USB charging ports into their cars - much like modern and retrofit aircraft. But USB charging continues to evolve, alongside devices that are increasingly power-hungry. Quick Charge 3, and USB C, are just two options in a crowded, evolving field that demands higher levels of voltage.

For decades, the 12 volt cigarette lighter port has been the only source of power available. That spawned an ecosystem of adapters and plug-ins, powering everything from fans and GPS devices to air compressors and blenders.

Are dedicated USB ports the answer? What if auto-makers only install 1V or 2.4V plugs?

I have often found 12V ports to be clumsy and unreliable (I wish there was a standard locking mechanism so plugs didn't simply jump out when I hit a speed bump or pothole), yet I like their versatility: they are the car equivalent of a household wall plug yet deliver a more universal (worldwide) standard of power than 100v vs 220v systems. It means I don't have to worry about the power supplies in my car becoming redundant when my next phone or mobile device demands a stronger power source.

Reticulating poll splines...