BMW i launches the world’s first wireless car charger

BMW i introduces another world first in the form of a factory-fully-integrated inductive charging system for the high-voltage battery of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Production will start in July. The Wireless Charging Wireless Charging System is available upon request as a long-term lease of optional equipment for the 530e iPerformance.

The product will be available originally in Germany, followed by the United Kingdom, USA, Japan and China. Wireless Charging allows electricity to be transferred from the electricity grid to the vehicle battery without the use of cables when it is stationary over a special surface.

This can be installed in the garage, for example, and the charging process starts as soon as the vehicle is stationed there (without further action by the driver). New technology simplifies battery charging of an electric / plug-in hybrid vehicle more than refueling a conventional engine model.

Wireless Charging (available as an option) consists of an Inductive Charging Station (GroundPad) installed either in a garage or outdoors and a secondary component (CarPad) located on the floor of the vehicle. The intact energy transfer between GroundPad and CarPad is about eight centimeters in distance. GroundPad produces a magnetic field. CarPad is induced by electric current, which then charges the high voltage battery.

The system has a power load of 3.2 kW, which allows full charging of the high voltage 530e iPerformance batteries in about three and a half hours. And with a performance factor of about 85%, charging with Wireless Charging is also very cost effective.

Inductive charging: easier even from refueling

Wireless Charging uses inductive charging technology that is used to charge devices such as cell phones and electric toothbrushes now and to recharge batteries of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The primary advantage here is unparalleled ease as drivers do not need cables to replenish their vehicle’s energy reserves.

On the contrary, as soon as the vehicle is stationary in the correct position above the inductive charging station, and simply by pressing the Start / Stop switch, the charging process starts. After the battery is fully charged, the system turns off automatically. Wireless Charging also helps the driver park in the right position. Via a WiFi connection, communication is established between the charging station and the vehicle.

Then a floor plan of the car and the surrounding area is displayed in the Control Display with colored lines that guide the driver to parking. An icon shows when the car has reached the correct position for inductive charging. There may be a deviation from the ideal position of up to seven centimeters in relation to the longitudinal axis and up to 14 centimeters in the transverse direction.

The GroundPad can also be placed in the open air and used irrespective of weather conditions. All electrical components are protected from rain and snow, and driving over GroundPad does not cause any damage.

During charging, electromagnetic radiation “escaping” is limited to the floor of the vehicle. GroundPad is constantly monitored and can be deactivated if foreign bodies are detected. BMW Group also offers an on-demand Wireless Charging installation service.