Charging an electric vehicle (EV) should be as convenient as refueling a gasoline car, if not better. While many carmakers try to find the best solutions, the simplest option is often overlooked. If you don’t have to plug in to charge, you never even have to realize that you are doing so. Wireless charging is a great out of sight, out of mind solution to keep your EV humming along. It has long been a bit of a distant option, but BMW is now offering it for a new plug-in model.
Charging The Easy Way With BMW
We’ve mentioned BMW’s i brand many times before and the company is still pursuing (a bit more slowly than initially planned) its EV route. As part of that, the company has been working on a new inductive charging system it hopes will let its EV drivers not have to worry about handling a cable at the end of the day — not that that’s a huge challenge, but every little bit can help.
This option is now set to launch next month.
But see if you can spot what’s a bit different/unexpected about 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, it notes in a press release about the news.
While this is not BMW’s first wireless charging device (the company has tentatively dabbled with trial tests), it seems to want to start the program in earnest, and not a moment too soon. 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%.
What, Where, When, and How BMW Will Offer Its Wireless Charging System
BMW has been quite steady in the electrification of its products. It has been difficult for many to follow the progression path since it seems nothing new has happened since the highly charismatic i8 and the fun to drive “born electric” i3 hit the scene. But the company has developed a lineup of plug-in hybrids that are seeing real sales. The company has a fairly high percentage of its car sales coming from electrified cars, and now it seems more intent on pushing innovative EV tech that appeals to the mass-market consumer — a person who perhaps doesn’t want to do anything extra to drive electric.
To begin, BMW says the product will launch in Germany, followed by availability in the UK, the US, Japan, and finally China.
It is just for one model right now, but what is BMW’s game plan for offering wireless charging on all of its plug-in vehicles? We’re reaching out to BMW if we can find out more on that front and a few others.
As we reported recently, “Combined sales of BMW i, BMW iPerformance, and MINI Electric vehicles were up 52% in April (9,831), bringing the total number of electrified BMW Group cars sold to over 250,000.” Furthermore, “electrified vehicles accounted for 5% of BMW sales globally.”