/ Motoring, Technology

Hyundai stubs out cigarette lighters, plugs in USB chargers

Car cigarette lighter

Hyundai is removing in-car cigarette lighters from all of the cars it sells in Korea. Do you use your car’s cigarette lighter? If so, what for? Would you prefer to have a USB charging point instead?

It might be hard to believe, but cigarette lighters arrived in cars all the way back in 1925. However, their days may be numbered…

The Korean car manufacturer Hyundai has decided to get rid of cigarette lighters from all cars made for the domestic Korean market. Instead, the car maker is fitting 12v charging points and USB connections. According to Hyundai, this makes it the ‘first auto company in the world’ to make the change.

Smokers make up 23% of the South Korean population, though a huge proportion of these are men – 41% of South Korean men light up. Only 20% of people smoke in England, with an equal split across the genders. This raises the question; will we see the death of cigarette lighters in UK-bound cars?

Charging gadgets via cigarette lighters

Over the years I’ve plugged CD players and freestanding sat navs into my car’s cigarette lighter, both of which could be powered by a USB connector.

I suspect most of us own lots of kit with USB connectors, so a USB charging point could be the perfect replacement for the traditional lighter. Indeed, Hyundai’s research in Korea found that many drivers charge their mobiles or tablets with the lighter jack, rather than actually lighting cigarettes. And the car maker adds that smokers can always buy a USB cigarette lighter if they want to light up on the road.

Hyundai is planning to survey consumers in other countries to see whether the move away from cigarette lighters should be extended. So, would you miss your in-car lighter? If you do use it, do you use it to light cigarettes or to charge your gadgets?

Rover 90 says:
19 March 2017

Quite agree that the dear old cigarette lighter socket is essential. How else can I run my Garmin satnav? Or my Ring tyre pump? Or my phone charger?
This type of socket should be, often is, more solidly built than your typical usb socket, and therefore more reliable in the long term. Who hasn’t had an usb socket on a phone or tablet become a sloppy fit?
Perhaps some bright manufacturer can develop an improved 12v power outlet?