BMW announced the U.S. Market extension of BMW’s global Wireless Charging Pilot Program. The pilot program began in Germany in 2018 and has recently expanded to include the U.S.
The pilot program is available in the state of California for 200 interested, qualifying residential home customers who are able to charge inside an enclosed garage space. Availability is based on 200-equally equipped 530e program lease vehicles.
The pre-qualification process begins with an online questionnaire at https://www.qmerit.com/bmwwireless to help determine location suitability. The next step involves a 530e Readiness Survey about the garage and local electric grid. Approved participants will then receive a confirmation number to take to one of 33 participating CA dealers to complete the 36-month lease of the 530e Sedan. Qmerit will then complete the residential hardware installation.
All costs, expenses and expenditures associated with the initial installation, maintenance and de-installation of the Ground Pad Module are covered by BMW. Participating dealers cover thirteen CA counties including San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Alameda and Sonoma counties in Northern CA and Orange, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino counties in southern CA.
BMW Wireless Charging enables electric energy from a main power supply, via installed GroundPad, to be transmitted to a vehicle’s high-voltage battery without any cables – when the vehicle is positioned over an induction 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. The launch of this technology sees the BMW Group move another step closer to an infrastructure that will make charging the battery of an electrified vehicle even simpler than refueling a car with a conventional engine.
BMW Wireless Charging consists of an Inductive Charging Station (GroundPad) 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 three inches. 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.
Inductive charging: even easier than refueling
BMW Wireless Charging 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 ease of use, as drivers no longer need to plug in a charging cable. 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 their 530e into the correct parking position with the help of a WiFi connection between the charging station and vehicle. An overhead view of the car and its surroundings is displayed in center Control Display with colored lines that help guide the driver into the correct spot. 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 2.75 inches longitudinally and up to 5.5 inches laterally. 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.