Carmaker BMW will start producing inductive charging pads for the 530e plug-in hybrid vehicle starting July, with a release shortly thereafter.
The device will be available in the United States and Europe, according to rumors. As of now, pricing is hard to determine, but it appears BMW isn't planning on selling the charger willy-nilly.
BMW To Start Wireless Charger Production
According to Car Magazine, there might not be a purchase option at all — the charging pad will be a lease option for the 530e iPerformance in Europe, and in the United States, BMW said it will be limited to participants in an upcoming pilot program in California. Car adds that leasing is the overwhelming choice for plug-in 5 Series drivers in Western Europe, which might explain why BMW chose a lease-only option for a brand-new technology that'll eventually be incorporated into all its PHEV models.
"We want to learn about the customers who want it and how they use it," according to John Kelly, BMW North America product planner, as The Verge reports. "It will be a small test at first."
BMW Wireless Charging Pad: How It Works
The induction system is made of a primary coil inside an aluminum plate wrapped in plastic that sits on the floor. There's also a smaller secondary coil that sits inside a pad placed into the base of the car between the front wheels.
The system charges the 530e's 9.2-kW battery in just three hours and 30 minutes, which takes a bit more time compared with using BMW's 3.7-kW i Wallbox. An in-car display on the infotainment screen will aid drivers in positioning the car properly over the mat. An app will keep the car owner updated about the charging progress. The mat is sealed to work indoors or outdoors, and it will automatically power down when it detects an interfering object such as small animals.
U.S. folks should expect this device to have limited availability once officially released. Kelly said the company is still trying to determine which of its 300 dealers in the country can sell the system and what partners would be needed to install it in customers' garages. Kelly failed to disclose how much it would cost. Whatever the price, wireless charging may just be the next innovation in the electric vehicle industry — if it works well, that is.
Are you a BMW customer? What do you think of its new wireless car charger? As always, if you have anything to share, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!