Following its launch in Europe last year, BMW is now also bringing inductive charging to the USA – in the form of a pilot programme with 200 private customers in California who can charge their leased 530e vehicles wirelessly in their garages.
A similar pilot program already ran in Germany in 2018. BMW Wireless Charging has been available as an option on the BMW 530e since July 2018. The charging capacity is 3.2 kW. According to BMW, the use of a high frequency reduces transmission losses. The efficiency of the overall system is 85 per cent, which is only seven percentage points less than with conductive charging.
Those interested in the 36-month everyday test in California can apply via a special website to lease one of the pre-configured 530e models. This requires a garage of one’s own – and sufficient network stability. The costs for installation, maintenance (including removal after the end of the project) are carried by BMW. By comparison, customers in Germany pay 890 euros for the vehicle-side CarPad module and the installation of the GroundPad costs a flat rate of 2,315 euros.
With this pilot project, BMW wants to gather experience from everyday life. For charging to start, the vehicle with the CarPad must be parked quite accurately above the GroundPad. The system helps to position the vehicle. However, it remains to be seen how often the test users really activate the system, whether dirt or other foreign substances between the charging plates become a problem in everyday use, among other concerns.