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BMW is set to launch the first wireless charging system for cars, as an optional extra with the 530e iPerformance. Named GroundPad, it takes its inspiration from wireless smartphone chargers.

Having previously revealed photos and a video of an inductive charging system named GroundPad, German carmaker BMW has officially launched the product, as an optional extra with the 530e iPerformance. Production will start in July in Germany before coming to the UK, USA, Japan, China and France, as reported by the website Frandroid.


GroundPad, technology inspired by smartphone chargers


GroundPad operates in the same way as wireless chargers for smartphones and toothbrushes, explained BMW in a press release. Thanks to the new technology, users will no longer have to plug their car into a socket with the aid of a cable; all they will have to do to charge their car is position it over GroundPad and switch the engine off.

This innovative system features a second unit, called CarPad. Fixed to the underside of the car, it enables charging to take place when positioned above GroundPad, at a distance of around 8cm. A wireless parking camera inside the car helps the user to park in the correct position for charging to take place.


Rapid charge time


According to the BMW press release, the system has a charging power of 3.2 kW and an 85% efficiency rating, with a full charge taking around three and a half hours. The carmaker added that the device is protected from rain and snow and works both in the garage and outdoors.

The announcement of GroundPad’s launch has received a lukewarm response, with some suggesting that the wireless device offers no real advantages over plug-based systems. Similar criticism has been levelled at wireless chargers for smartphones. Frandroid nevertheless praises BMW for being the first carmaker to provide such technology on the market. Will consumers pick up on it? We’ll know the answer in a few months’ time.


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