BMW AG plans to offer a wireless charging system in its 530e plug-in hybrid sedan this summer in Europe.
The carmaker will test the system, which includes a BMW-branded induction pad, on the 530e before rolling it out to other vehicles. A pilot program in California also could start later this year.
The technology initially will be available only to lease customers, who account for the bulk of 530e buyers. BMW developed the technology in partnership with Daimler AG, which is expected to launch its version of the system later this year in the Mercedes-Benz S 560 e large sedan.
The Bimmer system uses a graphic display to help drivers position the front of their vehicle over the mat, which must be plugged into a 220-volt outlet. Measuring about 35 inches long and 32 inches wide, the mat contains a coil inside in an aluminum plate wrapped in plastic. The coil inducts electricity to a secondary coil in the car.
The 3.2-kW system can charge the 530e's 9.2-kWh battery in 3.5 hours. This compares with three hours for BMW’s 3.7-kW plug-in charging system.
Drivers initiate charging by pressing a button on the dashboard and can monitor progress via a smartphone app.
The mat is sealed to work indoors or outside and will turn off automatically if it detects an animal stepping onto it or other interference. BMW says the mat emits less electromagnetic radiation than a hotplate.
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