It has become inevitable that electric-powered cars are the way of the future. We aren’t quite sure how electricity is going to be created to power these cars, but it has been almost universally accepted that batteries and motors are the way forward. Of course, people are lazy and they get concerned about things like charging times, plug variations and charging locations. BMW and Daimler have teamed up to hopefully make charging as easy and painless as possible with new wireless charging technology.

I won’t go too deep into the technology behind it, but think of it as a really large version of the wireless charging technology that some cellphones use. Basically, there is a large conductive coil installed into the bottom of the car that is attached to the batteries. If you park over the top of a second large conductive coil that is attached to a power source, the car batteries will begin charging. BMW has also managed to develop this system to be extremely fast and efficient. They say that this system can fully charge the new BMW i8 in less than two hours with the current prototype system.

Another benefit of this system is the ability to build it into any flat pavement. Entire mall parking lots or even highways could theoretically be wired with conduction coils, so your car would actually be charging as you went shopping or drove to work. If electric cars are the future, this is like warping into the age of the Jetsons.

Click past the jump to read more about BMW’s new Inductive Charging System.

BMW Inductive Charging System

BMW Prepares Inductive Charging System
- image 559279

The new wireless induction charging system is still in its prototype phase, but thanks to some very advanced technology, BMW has made some impressive progress. The current system can transmit energy at a rate of 3.6 kW per hour. To give you an idea of how great that is, at that rate, you could charge an average smartphone in less than one second.

Even better yet, BMW says they can nearly double the efficiency of this system to 7kW per hour. Like the standard BMW chargers available today, you would also be able to monitor the charge and status of your vehicle using a smartphone app.

Why It Matters

BMW Prepares Inductive Charging System
- image 559277

Making charging as fast and easy as possible is the best way to get the population of the world to adopt electric cars. For every advancement in making batteries charge more quickly and hold more energy, there is one more person likely to choose an EV over a standard gasoline-powered automobile. Steps like this are going to make the difference.

Effective wireless charging could also lead to a potential future where coil-induction highways provide near limitless energy to cars and then you would only need batteries to make it form the major highways to your home.

There are many paths to get to the future of the automobile, but this seems like one of the quickest and easiest.

Press Release

Driving pleasure and sustainability are fused together in unprecedented fashion in the all-electric BMW i3 and the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car. Their high-voltage batteries can be recharged quickly and easily by means of the BMW i Wallbox that forms part of the 360° ELECTRIC portfolio. This sophisticated charging station with fast-charge facility for feeding cars with power either at home or at work underlines the all-embracing approach adopted by the BMW i brand when it comes to developing products and services for sustainable mobility of premium calibre. In the process, the BMW Group has assumed a pioneering role in this field and is therefore pressing keenly ahead with the development of innovative technologies for making driving with zero tailpipe emissions more and more attractive. Systems for inductive charging of high-voltage batteries are the next step forward for energy supply. The development objective in the medium term is to put reliable, non-wearing and user-friendly solutions for inductive charging into production that have been tailored to both the batteries in the BMW i cars and the high-voltage batteries in future plug-in hybrid models from the BMW Group.

BMW Prepares Inductive Charging System
- image 559282

The crucial advantage of inductive power supply over conventional charging stations is the cable-free connection between the supply point and the vehicle’s high-voltage battery. Carmakers Daimler and the BMW Group have signed an agreement on the joint development and implementation of a standardised technology for inductive charging of electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles. The system consists of two components: a secondary coil in the vehicle floor as well as a base plate with integral primary coil that is located underneath the car, for example on the garage floor. The arrangement of the coils, and consequently of the field pattern, is based on a design derived from their circular shape that offers a number of crucial benefits. These include the extremely compact and lightweight construction along with effective spatial confinement of the magnetic field. The electrical energy is transmitted via an alternating magnetic field generated between the coils, contact-free, without charging cables and at a charging rate of 3.6 kW. With an efficiency factor of over 90 percent, this method enables the high-voltage batteries in vehicles to be charged efficiently, conveniently and safely.

A further development target is to minimise the charging time for contactless power transmission. At a charging rate of 3.6 kilowatts, the high-voltage batteries in many plug-in hybrid vehicles can be fully charged in under three hours. It takes less than two hours to charge the BMW i8 using a fully working prototype of an inductive charging station. In order to make allowance for the higher storage capacities of high-voltage batteries in pure-electric vehicles, the future technology standard also foresees the possibility of increasing the charging rate to 7 kW. This ensures that the battery in the BMW i3 could still be fully charged overnight when using the inductive system.

BMW Prepares Inductive Charging System
- image 559283

Inductive charging makes life considerably easier for the driver of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, as there is no need to connect any cables to top up the power reserves. Once it has been correctly positioned above the primary coil, the driver can simply start the charging process at the push of a button using the vehicle’s own operating system. Data is transmitted via a WiFi connection between vehicle and charging station to help the driver even with parking.

The inductive charging facility can be used regardless of the weather conditions. Not even rain or snow has a negative effect on the power feed as all of the system’s conductive components are protected, which means the primary coil can even be installed outdoors. During charging, ambient electromagnetic radiation is also kept to an absolute minimum. The space between the primary and secondary coils is permanently monitored, allowing charging to be halted instantly if any foreign bodies are detected.

BMW Prepares Inductive Charging System
- image 559284

As with today’s BMW i Wallbox, the inductive power supply systems of the future will also make it possible to activate and monitor the charging process from a smartphone. The relevant smartphone app will let drivers call up the data transmitted online on the battery’s charge status, for instance, or the time remaining until charging is complete.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: