BMW 530e IPerformance is the First Car With Wireless Charging

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

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).

SEE ALSO: 5 Reasons the 2018 BMW 530e Plug-in Hybrid is Better Than the Gas-Only Model

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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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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  • Aart Aart on May 28, 2018

    Efficiency rate: 85% of what? If it is 85% efficient compared to a cable plug-in, I would consider this rather poor. That would be an increase of 15% of your energy costs to operate the vehicle, plus the cost of leasing the pads, which I'm sure is not going to be cheap. If pads like these indeed increase energy consumption by 15%, then governments should take a real hard look on taking away the incentives for electrical vehicles.

    • Sam McEachern Sam McEachern on May 28, 2018

      Yes Aart, that's 85% of a regular charge. Wireless charging has a long way to go!