BMW is set to be the first automaker in the world to offer factory-fitted, wireless charging for plug-in hybrids.
Production for the German automaker’s wireless charging option is scheduled to begin this July and can be ordered now as a leasing option for the BMW 530e iPerformance. It will initially be offered in Germany, followed by the U.K., the U.S., Japan, and China.
As its name suggests, BMW Wireless Charging allows plug-in hybrid owners to simply park their car over a base pad and charge the battery without the need for cables. The package consists of an Inductive Charging Station called a GroundPad, which can be installed either in a garage or outdoors. Then there is the CarPad, which is fixed to the underside of the vehicle. The transfer of energy between the GroundPad and CarPad is contactless and is conducted over a distance of about 3.15 inches (8 centimeters).
BMW says its Wireless Charging system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, which enables the batteries on the 530e iPerformance to be fully charged in about 3.5 hours. Its efficiency rate is around 85 percent.
To help the driver accurately park over the pad, the car and the charging station uses a WiFi connection to communicate with each other. An overhead view of the car is shown on the onboard Control Display, with colored lines to help guide parking. BMW says driving over the GroundPad will not damage it in anyway, allowing it to be used outdoors as well.
The concept isn’t that different than wireless charging for phones and toothbrushes, offering convenience of not having to hook up a plug-in hybrid for a charge. Once the battery is fully charged, the system will automatically switch off.
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