BMW Wireless Charging

Although other brands are currently dominating the EV market in the U.S., BMW, one of the forerunners, is still receiving the recognition of the alternative fuel community. BMW’s next big hybrid and EV launch are all scheduled to take place over the next few years, but before any of them have hit market, Green Car Journal has awarded BMW’s wireless inductive charging technology its Green Car Technology of the Year™ title.

First shown to the public back in 2017, BMW has since launched a pilot program for its wireless charging technology in Germany. Last year, this program was expanded to California with a focus on the Bay Area. BMW likes to say it’s first to the market with the innovative setup, but the truth is that, outside of those involved with the test programs, the public cannot yet use the tech. Models that come with standard or optional wireless charging are surely right around the corner though, as all it takes to qualify a BMW 530e for the set is retrofitting of a CarPad receiver underneath, along with the appropriate computer coding—a day in the service bay at a BMW Center.

That explanation leaves out the physical hardware on the other end of the equation, but BMW handles the installation of this for test subjects, and the GroundPad itself seems strong with all-weather capability and having no problem with being run over. Energy transfer efficiency of 85% is also respectable, but it still leaves significant margin on the table and room for improvement down the line.

One big concern what might happen if something—or someone—enters the roughly thee-inch space between the CarPad and the GroundPad during a charging session. BMW’s answer for this comes in the form of foreign object detection and living object detection, which immediately power things down when intrusion is detected.

Read more about Green Car Journal‘s 2020 awards in their full article.—Alex Tock

[Photos and video courtesy BMW AG.]



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