BMW Roles Out Wireless EV Charging

Charging an electric vehicle (EV) should be as convenient as refueling a gasoline car, if not better. It has long been a bit of a distant option, but BMW is now offering it for new plug-in models.

The company has been working on a new inductive charging system for sometime now for BMW’s i brand with the hope that it will let its EV drivers not have to worry about handling a cable at the end of the day.

This option is now set to launch next month.

BMW i’s newest “launch” — “a factory-fitted, fully integrated inductive charging facility for the high-voltage battery in a plug-in hybrid vehicle.”

It’s for plug-in hybrids. That’s mostly what BMW is selling when it talks or writes about its plug-in vehicle sales. The only fully electric vehicle BMW is selling is the i3, whereas it has several plug-in hybrid options.

Production on the wireless charger starts in July and is an integral part of the BMW Group’s “NUMBER ONE > NEXT” strategy. For now, the system can be ordered only as a leasing option for the BMW 530e iPerformance.

BMW says its inductive charging station is called a GroundPad that can be installed in a garage, outdoors, or on a secondary vehicle on the underside of the vehicle — the company calls the latter a CarPad. The system can handle up to 3.2 kW.

This means a BMW 530e iPerformance can be fully charged in around 3½ hours. As to the efficiency of the wireless system, BMW says it has reached an efficiency rate of around 85%. The product will be launched in Germany, followed by availability in the UK, the US, Japan, and finally China.