BMW’s Inductive Charging system, first announced back in 2017 and since put to trial in Germany last year, is being expanded to the U.S., more specifically to 200 willing and interested participants in the state of California. The Inductive Charging Pilot Program, as it is being called, is BMW’s latest effort to test their wireless charging system, which can transfer power to a properly equipped electric vehicle from a pad on the ground, achieving a full charge in under four hours, with no other effort or input from the driver other than positioning the vehicle.
If you’re interested in giving it a shot, you’ll need to be in the market for leasing a new BMW, specifically a 530e iPerformance. The process begins with completing a survey, but before beginning, it’s important to note that only residents of California with a home garage will be considered. Upon completion of an initial questionnaire, a survey regarding your garage setup and local power grid will be administered. If you’re qualified, you will be issued a confirmation number that is to be used when completing the lease of your 530e iPeformance at one of 33 participating California BMW dealerships. These dealerships cover thirteen densely populated counties in California, and serve cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and surrounding areas.
More details about how the system works can be found in our first article about the technology, but it’s really quite simple in practice. Two core components make up the inductive charging setup; a CarPad which is fixed to the bottom of the 530e, and the GroundPad, which is plugged in, and positioned on the ground in your garage. The stationary GroundPad is waterproof and can withstand being run over repeatedly without subsequent problems. Much like your electric toothbrush, or your modern smartphone which features wireless charging, the charging base on the garage floor creates a magnetic field that induces current, which is then used to charge the vehicle’s battery.
BMW claims up to 85% efficiency in terms of energy transfer, and says the 3.2 kilowatt setup can charge the 530e in approximately three and a half hours. The GroundPad itself emits electromagnetic radiation during charging, but this is said to be limited to the undercarriage of the car, and sensors can switch the pad off if any foreign entrants are detected. When pulling into the garage, the iDrive screen in the 530e guides you over the GroundPad for ideal positioning, providing multiple views for great accuracy.
Those interested in the program won’t have to sacrifice much in the way of luxury, either. The 530e iPerfomance sedans that are slated for lease come nicely equipped, with all options and packages listed below. Find full details of the pilot program and links to sign up here.—Alex Tock
- Choice of Alpine White, Black Sapphire Metallic or Bluestone Metallic
- Black Dakota Leather
- Induction Car Pad module
- Induction Ground Pad Module (Professional installation and de-installation)
- M Sport Package
- 19-inch M Double-spoke wheels
- Comfort Access Keyless Entry
- Shadowline exterior trim
- SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 1 year All-Access trial subscription
- Power trunk lid
- Heated front seats
- M Steering wheel and aerodynamic kit
- LED fog lights
- Active Driving Assistant – Pedestrian Warning with braking, City Collision Mitigation with braking, Speed Limit Information, Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, Rear Collision preparation.
- Active Protection – automatic front seat-belt tensioning, automatic closing of windows and moonroof, fatigue and focus alert, post-crash braking.
- Active Blind Spot detection
- Frontal Collision Warning with city collision mitigation
- Lane Departure warning
- Head-Up Display
- Surround View with 3D view Camera System
- Rear view camera and park distance control
- Sport Steptronic 8-speed automatic transmission
- Power front sport seats with split-fold down rear seat
- Acoustic protection for pedestrians
- Ambient lighting
- LED headlights
- Apple CarPlay Compatibility with 1 year free trial
- Harman Kardon Surround Sound Audio System
- Enhanced USB and Bluetooth plus Smartphone integration
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]