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Car Technology

BMW’s wireless charging system reaches US

Soon, getting out and plugging in your hybrid or electric car for charging will be a thing of the past. For some owners of the BMW 530e iPerformance, it’s already a reality.

BMW in 2017 first demonstrated a wireless charging system for the plug-in hybrid sedan. A year later, the system was rolled out in Germany on a trial basis. Now, a similar trial is being run in the United States.

BMW last week announced that customers in California leasing a 2019 530e iPerformance will be eligible, though they will also require a home with an enclosed garage space. Just 200 places are available in the U.S. trial.

The wireless charging system consists of a pad that sits on the ground and is plugged into a wall’s power socket. The pad contains a primary coil that transfers electricity via magnetic field to a secondary coil installed in a pad mounted underneath the nose of the car. The process is known as inductive charging, and it’s essentially the same technology you find in electric toothbrush chargers, only much more powerful.

2018 BMW 530e iPerformance wireless charging

2018 BMW 530e iPerformance wireless charging

The BMW system has a charging capacity of 3.2 kilowatts, or enough to charge the 9.2-kilowatt-hour battery of the 530e iPerformance in 3.5 hours. BMW said the wireless charger’s efficiency rate is a high 85 percent.

The ground pad communicates with the car to help the driver via parking instructions to maneuver into the correct position. Charging is automatic as soon as the driver pushes the start/stop button. Once the battery is fully charged, the system switches off automatically.

2018 BMW 530e iPerformance wireless charging

2018 BMW 530e iPerformance wireless charging

All components that conduct electricity are protected from rain and snow, so theoretically the pad can also be used outside. However, participants of the trial will have to use an enclosed garage. All costs associated with the installation, maintenance and removal of the pad will be covered by BMW.

If the trial proves successful, hopefully BMW expands it to more states, and to more of its models.



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