The new W213 Mercedes-Benz E-Class has the ability to use a smartphone with NFC technology as a key, so you don’t have to carry an extra key in your pocket.
NFC is short for Near Field Communication. It is a wireless communication system that allows two devices to talk within about two inches of each other. We had Mercedes-Benz’s digital key and anti-theft protection expert Edis Ceric demonstrate the system to us at the international press drive in Lisbon that we attended recently. Watch the video above to see it in action.
Mercedes-Benz developed the Digital Car Key feature using Samsung Android smartphones, but any Android smartphone with NFC should work. You will need an account with the Mercedes me service for it to work, as well as an NFC-capable smartphone. Your smartphone has to be registered with the Mercedes me service.
Locking and unlocking the car is as simple as placing your phone near the driver’s side door handle. You have to place your phone inside the Qi wireless charger to start the car as that is where the NFC receiver is located. Of course, if your phone supports Qi wireless charging, your phone will begin to charge as well.
The best part is a single phone can be used as a digital key for multiple cars, and a number of phones can be programmed to a single car, an ideal solution for large families or fleet operations.
While certain Apple iPhones have NFC technology built in, Apple has locked it down exclusively for use with Apple Pay for the moment, though there are rumours that developer access to NFC might be open sometime in the future. So no luck using this feature if you have an iPhone.