Automotive

BMW i launches wireless charging for plug-in hybrids

BMW i launches wireless chargi...
A base pad is placed on the parking space and plugged into the power source – when the vehicle is parked over the top of the pad, inductive charging begins
A base pad is placed on the parking space and plugged into the power source – when the vehicle is parked over the top of the pad, inductive charging begins
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The charging option is set as a lease in Germany and will become available in the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and China in subsequent rollouts
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The charging option is set as a lease in Germany and will become available in the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and China in subsequent rollouts
A base pad is placed on the parking space and plugged into the power source – when the vehicle is parked over the top of the pad, inductive charging begins
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A base pad is placed on the parking space and plugged into the power source – when the vehicle is parked over the top of the pad, inductive charging begins
An overhead view of the vehicle guides the driver into position over the charging pad to gain optimum charging
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An overhead view of the vehicle guides the driver into position over the charging pad to gain optimum charging
BMW Wireless Charging will be offered as an option on BMW plug-in vehicles, starting with the 530e
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BMW Wireless Charging will be offered as an option on BMW plug-in vehicles, starting with the 530e
BMW says that the system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, making for a three-and-a-half hour charge time in the 530e iPerformance
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BMW says that the system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, making for a three-and-a-half hour charge time in the 530e iPerformance

BMW's i division has launched a wireless charging system for plug-in hybrid vehicles. The factory-fitted, fully-integrated inductive charging system is a world-first. BMW says that production for BMW Wireless Charging will begin in July and is available for order now, for the 530e iPerformance model.

The charging option is set as a lease in Germany and will become available in the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, and China in subsequent rollouts. The BMW Wireless Charging system uses inductive charging through electromagnetic fields to charge a high-voltage in-vehicle battery without cables.

A base pad is placed on the parking space and plugged into the power source. When the vehicle is parked over the top of the pad, inductive charging begins charging its batteries with no plug tethering of the vehicle required. The driver can simply step into the car and pull away at any time without unplugging or stowing a plug and cord.

BMW Wireless Charging will be offered as an option on BMW plug-in vehicles, starting with the 530e. Installation of the Inductive Charging Station (aka "GroundPad") can be anywhere the vehicle owner will use it most often, such as in a garage, a driveway, or corporate parking space. BMW says that the GroundPad is weatherproof and works in most any atmospheric condition.

A CarPad is affixed to the vehicle's underside as a receiver for the inductive charging, installed as part of the charging system's lease, with a distance of about 8 cm (3.15 inches) between them. The magnetic field of the GroundPad creates an electric current in the CarPad which is used to charge the vehicle's battery.

An overhead view of the vehicle guides the driver into position over the charging pad to gain optimum charging
An overhead view of the vehicle guides the driver into position over the charging pad to gain optimum charging

BMW says that the system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, making for a three-and-a-half hour charge time in the 530e iPerformance with an efficiency of about 85 percent. Communications between the vehicle and the GroundPad charging device are conducted over secure Wi-Fi. The driver is guided into parking position via an overhead view of the car (ala a 360-degree parking camera) with colored lines indicating the best placement for optimum charge efficiency over the pad. Deviation from optimum position can be up to seven cm (2.75 inches) longitudinally and 14 cm (5.5 inches) laterally.

Safety features include buffering to hold all radiation from the GroundPad to underneath the car, so it does not affect the driver or passengers. Sensors will also shut off the charging system if foreign matter is detected on the ground pad.

Source: BMW

7 comments
guzmanchinky
Honestly, buying an electric car right now is crazy. If you buy this, it will only work on BMW's, Tesla wall chargers only for Teslas, and in a few years totally outdated by newer chargers that can do it twice as fast. I'll wait until there is a universal standard, charges in 5 minutes, and Shell and Chevron install them at their stations for anyone to use...
Howe
None of that would happen if everyone thought like you. Technology doesn't mature naturally, it takes a lot of people putting in time & money.
Michael Wilson
It takes time and people with disposable income to be the early adopters to get this tech ubiquitous. It probably is crazy for the average person to get it, but anyone with above average income can afford it. I for one like seeing BMW involved. They usually inject decent driving dynamics into their cars and we can be assured that while electric, it will handle go and stop the way a car should. Bring on the electrics from Germany
michaelblock
The more charging options the better, but really, is it so hard to plug in a power cord? No word on how many times more expensive this option is than a wall charger, and 3.2kW is a pretty low powered charging system, 84% also sacrifices some efficiency over a wall charger (usually over 90%) so it will consume more power. Incidentally, a Tesla wall charger can charge any EV with an appropriate adaptor plug, just as a Tesla can charge from any charger with the appropriate adaptor or cable
Bobsue1946
So why are we not using bus activated charging pad for all our electric bus commutes? At each stop the bus activates the charger and gives a charge to the bus will it is loading. Dah...
eMacPaul
@Bobsue1946, looks like we're working on it: https://newatlas.com/momentum-200-kw-wireless-charging-transit-bus/54303/
guzmanchinky
Fully agree early adopters are needed to advance this tech. Personally I just get angry when tech advances so fast your iPhone is obsolete the day after you buy it! (Being funny here, but still!)