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BMW Previews Wireless Charging for Electric Cars

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author photo by Doug DeMuro
  • BMW developing a wireless charging system for cars
  • System works like inductive charging for cell phones, except with a parking spot
  • BMW has not announced when system will reach customers

BMW may soon unveil a way to eliminate cumbersome cables and charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs). The automaker recently announced that it's experimenting with wireless inductive charging for electric cars, which could, one day, allow EV drivers to charge their vehicles without plugging them in.

According to the automaker, the new charging system works a lot like inductive charging for cell phones, but rather than driving your car onto a huge inductive charge pad, you'd simply park in a spot designed to recharge an electric vehicle. There, two systems -- one in the ground and one in the car -- would work together to charge the vehicle without any wires, cables or plugs required. In fact, BMW says that the only thing a driver has to do is press a button inside the car to let the charging begin.

Best of all, BMW says that the wireless vehicle charging system doesn't take additional time to recharge a vehicle compared to a standard charger. While the automaker didn't announce specific charge times for its wireless parking spots, it noted that they could recharge the brand's i3 electric car overnight. That's not much longer than a normal charging station, which will replenish the i3's battery in 6-to-8 hours.

BMW also says that it has worked hard to identify and eliminate other potential problems with wireless charging. The automaker says that the system works no matter the weather conditions, and it can even prevent the transmission of radiation between the car and the charging pad if it detects that an animal has climbed in between the wireless parking space and the car's charger.

So when can you get a wireless charging system installed in your own garage? Unfortunately, BMW isn't quite sure when wireless automotive charging will make production, noting that the system is still in development. We'd bet that the system will eventually reach customers because other automakers -- including Infiniti and Toyota -- have announced similar experimentation over the past few years.

What it means to you: Wireless automotive charging may soon make its way into your garage, thanks to a system under development by BMW.

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