Tellurex cupholders featured in two Chrysler models

TRAVERSE CITY – If you hate hot pop and cold tea, you'll be happy to know you can buy a car that keeps your beverages at just the right temperature, right at your fingertips.

At the Detroit Auto Show, DaimlerChrysler rolled out its redesigned 2007 Chrysler Sebring that includes a Traverse City company's thermoelectrically-activated hot and cold holders. Chrysler's 2007 Dodge Avenger also features the new cupholder option.

Tellurex, based in Traverse City, develops and manufactures solid state thermoelectric power generation, as well as heating and cooling technologies for automotive, medical, military and food service applications.

DaimlerChrysler is the first automaker to incorporate the 20-year-old company's cupholder design.

The cupholders have been previously showcased in prototype vehicles, but this is the first time they're being offered in a volume production vehicle, according to Peter Schmitz, head of sales and marketing for Tellurex.

The cupholders got a hand from Mark Phelan who wrote in the Feb. 8 Detroit Free Press, "My 22-ounce mocha never got cold during an all-day test to evaluate the midsize sedan, and the feature won me over enough that I'm convinced some people will buy the Sebring just for the cupholder and never regret the decision."

The product chills beverages to 40 degrees below the interior temperature of the car. When switched to the heating mode, beverages are warmed to a maximum of 140 degrees, for safety reasons. The thermoelectric technology in the cupholder is similar to the technology used to heat seats, according to Tellurex President Charles Cauchy. The technology could be used to heat or cool steering wheels and other car parts down the road, he added.

Tellurex was featured in the Michigan Economic Development Corporation's exhibit "The Upper Hand." Twelve companies from Michigan's high-tech sector were invited to exhibit their technologies, demonstrating Michigan's leadership role in automotive research and development.

Tellurex was included among six companies in the "future technologies" section of the exhibit, highlighting the existing cutting-edge products now in cars and underscoring Tellurex's development work in nanotechnology-driven electrical power generation from waste heat. BN