BMW on Monday announced a wireless inductive charging pad available through its accessory department that could spell the end of the road for conventional electric charging cables.
The German automaker calls its system Wireless Charging and it allows drivers to park so-equipped vehicles on top of a pad that transmits energy directly to the vehicle. The setup consists of a component called CarPad that attaches to the underside of the vehicle and a charging station called GroundPad that looks like a large door with a cord that plugs into a power outlet.
The BMW Wireless Charging system goes on sale this summer for the automaker's 2018 530e plug-in hybrid with other BMW model compatibility set to follow later.
BMW says that the 3.2-kilowatt charging system can charge a depleted 9.2-kwh lithium-ion battery pack in a 530e sedan in about three and a half hours. The pad sits under the vehicle. Using wi-fi, it automatically switches the infotainment display to help guide the driver on top of the charging pad. Should the driver not follow the system's prompts, BMW says that the pad is robust enough to withstand being driven over. It's also weather-resistant and BMW says that ambient electromagnetic radiation is blocked by the vehicle sitting on top of the charger.
The charging pad will launch first in Germany initially but BMW says it will be offered in the U.S. later. The automaker has not said how much the pad will cost when it becomes available in the U.S.