Market Launch for BMW Wireless Charging

BMW I, the BMW Group brand that focuses on connected mobility services and is responsible for the i3 electric car and I8 plug-in hybrid sports car, has launched a factory-fitted, fully integrated inductive charging facility for the high-voltage battery in a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

Available to customers as an option, BMW Wireless Charging consists of an 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 an electric current is induced in the CarPad, which then charges the high-voltage 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 with an efficiency rate of around 85 per cent.

The system employs the same inductive charging technology already widely used for supplying power to devices such as mobile phones. The principal benefit, the company says, is ease of use, as drivers no longer need to hook up their plug-in hybrid car using a cable. 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.

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.

BMW says the launch of this technology sees the Group 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.

Production of the BMW Wireless Charging system will start in July and can be ordered now in Germany as a leasing-option for the BMW 530e iPerformance, with subsequent markets to include the UK, the US, Japan and China.

12 Jun 2018