Monday, January 27, 2020

Ditch Those Charging Cables, BMW is Now Doing Wireless Charging for Cars


Prepare to possibly ditch those bulky charging cables in your EV soon as BMW is widening the pilot test for its inductive charging technology.

First introduced in Germany, then subsequently expanded to the US (where it won the Green Car Journal’s Green Car Technology of the Year), this charging technology does away with having to plug in—similar to today’s smart phones with wireless charging capability.

For its test program, BMW choose the 530e sedan. It requires two things: an inductive charging station (ground pad) and a secondary component attached onto the vehicle (car pad). The contactless transfer of energy can be completed over a distance of around three inches (76 millimeters), and thanks to a charging power of 3.2 kW (85 percent energy transfer efficiency), it can fully charge the 530e in about three and a half hours.

The system helps drivers maneuver into the right spot with the help of a Wi-Fi connection between the charging station and the vehicle. An overhead view of the car and its surroundings is displayed in center Control Display with colored lines that help guide the driver into the correct spot. A graphic icon shows when the correct parking position for inductive charging has been reached. This can deviate from the optimum position by up to 2.75 inches longitudinally and up to 5.5 inches laterally. All components that conduct electricity are protected from rain and snow, and driving over the GroundPad will not damage it in any way.

Oh, and for safety, the inductive charging components generate a magnetic field, which allows for the safe transfer of energy. Foreign Object Detection and Living Object Detection are part of the charging system and will turn off charging if something is detected within the gap between the vehicle and ground pads.

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