BMW i electric vehicle sub brand has launched a world first in the form of a factory-fitted wireless inductive charging facility for the battery in a plug-in hybrid vehicle.
With production starting in July, the BMW Wireless Charging option can be ordered now as a leasing-option for the BMW 530e iPerformance.
Wireless Charging enables electric energy from the mains supply to be transmitted to a vehicle’s battery without any cables when the vehicle is positioned over a base pad. This can be installed in the garage, for example, and the charging process starts as soon as the vehicle is parked in position, without any further input from the driver.
The launch of this technology sees the BMW move another step closer to an infrastructure that will make charging the battery of an electrified vehicle even simpler than refuelling a car with a conventional engine.
Available to customers as an option, BMW Wireless Charging consists of a Inductive Charging Station (GroundPad), which can be installed either in a garage or outdoors, and a secondary vehicle component (CarPad) fixed to the underside of the vehicle. The contactless transfer of energy between the GroundPad and CarPad is conducted over a distance of around eight centimetres. The GroundPad generates a magnetic field. In the CarPad an electric current is induced, which then charges the battery.
The system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, enabling the high-voltage batteries on board the BMW 530e iPerformance to be fully charged in around three-and-a-half hours.
BMW’s Wireless Charging employs the same inductive charging technology already widely used for supplying power to devices such as mobile phones and electric toothbrushes to now also recharge the batteries in electrified vehicles.
The principal benefit here is the unrivalled ease of use, as drivers no longer need to hook up their plug-in hybrid car using a cable in order to replenish its energy reserves. Instead, as soon as the vehicle has been parked in the correct position above the inductive Charging Station, followed by a simple push of the Start/Stop button, the charging process is initiated. Once the battery is fully charged, the system switches off automatically.
BMW Wireless Charging also helps the driver to manoeuvre into the correct parking position. Via a WiFi connection a communication between the charging station and vehicle is being established. An overhead view of the car and its surroundings then appears in the Control Display with coloured lines that help guide the driver while parking. A graphic icon shows when the correct parking position for inductive charging has been reached. This can deviate from the optimum position by up to seven centimetres longitudinally and up to 14 centimetres laterally.
BMW says the GroundPad can also be installed outdoors, where it may be used regardless of the weather conditions. All components that conduct electricity are protected from rain and snow, and driving over the GroundPad will not damage it in any way. During charging, ambient electromagnetic radiation is limited to the vehicle undercarriage. The GroundPad is permanently monitored and will be switched off if any foreign matters are detected.
The BMW Wireless Charging offer starts with Germany, subsequently followed by the UK, the US, Japan and China.