Today marks the market launch of BMW’s highly anticipated wireless charging solution for iPerformance cars. BMW has been talking about it for over a year, in anticipation of the launch of their new BMW 530e iPerformance model, the first production car available with wireless charging. The system is now available for orders and allows customers to recharge their 530e – and future PHEV models – by simply parking the car over a so-called base pad.
The BMW Wireless Charging option can be ordered now as a leasing-option for the BMW 530e iPerformance. The product offer starts with Germany, subsequently followed by the UK, the US, Japan and China. The system enables electric energy from the main supply to be transmitted to a vehicle’s high-voltage 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 started as soon as the vehicle has been parked in position (without any further input from the driver).
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 centimeters. The GroundPad generates a magnetic field. In the CarPad an electric current is induced, 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. And with an efficiency rate of around 85 per cent, charging with the BMW Wireless Charging system is very efficient, too. It 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 high-voltage batteries in electrified vehicles.
The principal benefit here is the unrivaled 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 maneuver 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 colored 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 centimeters longitudinally and up to 14 centimeters laterally.
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 Group also offers an installation service for BMW Wireless Charging, on request.