BMW is close to rolling out wireless charging on one of its cars — and this time, it doesn’t involve phones. That feature is already there, but being able to wirelessly charge your car is new.
It really is a big charging pad for a 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid. The BMW pad connects to a 220-volt outlet, then the sensors on the car show you where to steer so the vehicle can communicate with the charger, as shown in this video.
According to BMW, the 9.4kWh battery in the 530e can be charged in about 3.5 hours at 3.2kW of power, or close to the level you’d get if you just plugged the car in with a cord.
A BMW North America spokesperson told The Verge in an email that the technology depicted in the video is still in the testing and evaluation phase for the US and Canada. It still needs UL approval, too.
In other countries, BMW plans to launch the wireless charging system early next year, but only on the 530e iPerformance plug-in hybrid sedan. Other iPerformance PHEVs —which include the 330e, 740e, and X5 — as well as the i3 and i8 electric vehicles are set to be offered with the system later.
While it’s still a few years away from being even available here, and there’s no word on what it might cost when it does arrive, BMW is still about to be one of the first manufacturers offer wireless vehicle charging from the factory on a model.
Wireless charging has become one of the biggest buzzwords for devices this fall, and its importance for transportation shouldn’t be underestimated when agencies and municipalities think about how we’re going to charge all of the electric vehicles of the future.