BMW Launching a Free Wireless EV Charging Pilot for Drivers of the 530e Plug-in Hybrid in California
【Summary】Drivers of the BMW 530e plug-in hybrid iPerformance sedan in California are being selected for a new free pilot program to test wireless EV charging at their homes. Wireless charging was first offered as an option on the BMW 530e iPerformance beginning in 2018.
As EV charging infrastructure is being built throughout the U.S. and California, companies are also working to develop wireless charging technology, including BMW. The inductive technology charges the vehicle's battery pack without having to plug in cables and might eventually become a much more convenient way for EV drivers to charge their vehicles.
Drivers of the BMW 530e plug-in hybrid iPerformance sedan in California are being selected for a new free pilot program to test wireless EV charging at their homes. To participate in the pilot, BMW requires that a driver have a 530e equipped with the optional "car pad module" (CPM) as a factory option.
Drivers will also need a seperate "ground pad module" (GPM) which will be professionally installed for free by BMW's installer partner Qmerit. The GPM must be hardwired to a home electrical panel and Wi-Fi must be available, since the CPM and GPM sync through a Wi-Fi connection.
Wireless charging was first offered as an option for the BMW 530e plug-in-hybrid iPerformance beginning in 2018.
Qmerit is is a company that specializes in installing EV charging infrastructure. The company works with automakers BMW, Jaguar, Land Rover, MINI, as well as EV charging provider ChargePoint and others. Qmerit says its network includes some of the highest quality residential electrical contractors in the nation.
All costs, expenses and expenditures associated with the initial installation and maintenance of the GPM will be covered by BMW.
BMW said a limited number of wireless inductive charging systems are available in California, but didn't say how many.
How it Works
The wireless, or inductive charging system, consists of the GPM with an integrated primary coil, which can be installed in a garage or outdoors along with a secondary coil integrated in the underside of the vehicle. However, for this pilot, BMW is requiring the GPM hardware be installed in a enclosed garage.
An alternating magnetic field is generated between the two embedded coils when a driver parks over the GPM on the floor, enabling electricity to be transmitted without cables or contacts. The system produces a charge rate of up to 3.2 kW. This charging rate offers a charging time of around 3.5 hours for the 530e sedan's 9.2 kWh lithium-ion battery.
BMW 530e drivers residing in California are asked to fill out a short survey to determine if their home is eligible for BMW's wireless charging. After confirming eligibility, a customer can contact their local BMW Center for leasing options on a BMW 530e with CPM.
There is one catch though. Once a customer's BMW 530e lease is up, they must return the GCM. However, BMW will uninstall it from a customer's garage for free.
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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