German automotive giant BMW has announced it will bring its global Induction Charging Pilot Program to the United States, where it will be trialled through 200 pilot program vehicles in the state of California.
BMW’s global Induction Charging Pilot Program was first launched in Germany in 2018, allowing electric charging from a main power supply via the installed GroundPad Module. A CarPad, affixed to the underside of the vehicle, allows a user to park their car over the GroundPad and begin charging almost immediately.
From a technical point of view, the GroundPad generates a magnetic field which then induces an electric current in the CarPad, resulting in the vehicle’s high-voltage battery being charged.
The setup also includes Foreign Object Detection and Living Object Detection so that charging is halted if anything is detected between the gap between vehicle and ground pad – presumably in an effort to safeguard any adventurous cats.
The Induction Charging system has a charging power of 3.7kW enabling the high-voltage batteries on board the BMW 530e iPerformance to be fully charged in around three-and-a-half hours, and with an efficiency rate of around 85 per cent.
The new pilot program will be available to qualifying residents over thirteen California counties including San Francisco, San Mateo, Contra Costa, Alameda and Sonoma counties in Northern CA and Orange, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Santa Clara, Ventura, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties in southern California.
Availability is based on 20 530e program lease vehicles, and qualifying residents will need to undergo a multi-segment application process and be able to charge inside an enclosed garage space.
All costs, expenses, and expenditures associated with the initial installation, maintenance, and de-installation of the GroundPad Module will be covered by BMW. Successful applicants will receive a confirmation number to take to one of the 33 participating California dealers to complete a 36-month lease of BMW’s 530e Sedan.