In another move to improve charging practices for plug-in electric vehicles, BMW is set to expand the availability of its wireless charging pad for one of its vehicles to the United States. Finally, no more untangling a charging cord for your car!
The BMW Wireless Charging Pad, shown last year, will be available in the US only on the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid, John Kelly, BMW North America product planner, told The Verge on Tuesday at the Detroit Auto Show. The system was on display at the BMW stand, but Kelly wouldn’t commit to a timeline on if it would be available by the end of 2018. A representative for the German automaker previously said the technology was a few years away from reaching the US.
Available in Europe, however, the charging pad uses an inductive cord built into the car to charge at 3.2kW per hour and charge the plug-in’s battery in three and a half hours from empty. However, owners will need to already have a 220-volt outlet to connect the pad. But as soon as the driver places the car over the pad, the BMW’s infotainment system detects the pad and asks if the driver wants to begin charging.
“We want to learn about the customers who want it and how they use it,” Kelly said. “It will be a small test at first.”
Kelly said availability of the system would also be somewhat limited in the US. It’s trying to determine which of its more than 300 dealers in the country can sell the device and what partners would be needed to install it in customer garages. Kelly declined to say how much the system might cost. That may not matter, though. BMW’s pad could be a big moment for the wireless charging of plug-in cars if it works well enough for its early users.