BMW inductive chargingBMW has confirmed the next step in convenient electric car motoring, contact-free inductive battery charging, is nearing production reality. 

Offered as an alternative to the Wallbox many i3 and i8 owners are having installed in their garages, the inductive charging system offers hands-free recharging of batteries at the same 3.3kW rate as a plug-in system.

All owners need to do is drive the car over a base pad and charging can begin.

BMW has developed a special parking assistant to facilitate the accurate positioning of car and base plate – which can wirelessly recharge even in rain or snow.

An i8 will fully recharge in two hours using the new conductive charging research system and BMW says future higher-power systems will offer full EV battery charging overnight.

There are no health concerns either, adds the firm: the electromagnetic field strength during recharging is less than a hotplate on a cooker.

The system uses a secondary coil beneath the front wheels on the underside of the car, which pairs with a primary coil in the fixed baseplate. If the two are aligned correctly, charging begins automatically.

BMW’s launched it purely for convenience and says that, although it’s not quite production ready, “it will be offered on the next generation i3 and i8”.