Electrified vehicles will become more mainstream when they’re more convenient to charge up than fueling a conventional automobile with an internal-combustion engine. And BMW is taking a big step towards that goal with the launch of its wireless charging system.
Available initially for the 530e iPerformance PHEV, the wireless charging matt does away with the plug-in part of the plug-in hybrid equation. Just park your 5 Series on top of the charger, and the system does the rest. It works pretty much like a wireless charging pad for a phone or electric toothbrush, but obviously on a much larger scale.
The system encompasses a GroundPad placed on the driveway (or wherever the car’s being parked) and a CarPad affixed to the underside of the vehicle. The two devices create a magnetic field at a distance of about eight centimeters (3 inches), and charge at 3.2 kW to fill up the battery in just three and a half hours. No plugs, not even any buttons are required to be pressed. No fuss, no muss.
Production starts in July. The wireless charging option is being offered first in Germany under lease, but will soon follow to the US, UK, Japan, and China. And you can bet there’ll be more models offered with the system in the near future, too.
The automaker touts this as the world’s first “factory-fitted, fully integrated inductive charging facility for the high-voltage battery in a plug-in hybrid vehicle.” This in addition to the plug-in fast-chargers that BMW’s Designworks studio is designing for the Ionity joint venture (with Daimler, Volkswagen, and Ford) for implementation across Europe.