Wireless charging for electric vehicles is certainly far from mainstream at this point, but BMW is doing its part to make it an option for owners. The company has revealed a wireless charging solution with their name on it for the 2018 530e plug-in hybrid.
Details of the system are still a little scarce, such as whether or not it will be sold in the U.S. or just in Europe. That said, we do know that the system will charge at a rate of 3.2 kW, that’s just shy of the hard-wired version’s 3.7 kW flow. At that rate, the wireless system will fully charge the 530e’s 9.2-kWh battery pack in about 3.5 hours. The charge pad can be outside or inside.
So how does this thing work? Well, a lot like inductive chargers for cell phones. There’s a coil in the charging pad that creates an alternating electromagnetic field. Once the car is parked over the pad, the coil in the car reacts to the pad coil and creates an electric current between the two.
Another remaining detail of the system is its cost or how BMW will offer it as an option on the 530e. The company’s hard-wired charging system costs about $1,000, so it is a safe bet this one will cost north of the wired option.
While wireless charging is still hard to come by today, other automakers are working on it as well, including BMW rival Mercedes-Benz.