Charge your 530e with no cable in less than four hours

BMW has become the first manufacturer to offer factory-backed wireless charging for one of its electrified vehicles, launching an inductive charge pad for the 530e iPerformance.

The system involves a pad, placed on the ground in your garage (or outside, thanks to waterproofing) and plugged into an outlet, and a coil underneath the car. It's a 3.2kW charger, capable of fully topping up the battery in less than four hours thanks to its (claimed) 85 per cent efficiency rating.

Charging starts when the driver turns the car off over the pad, and automatically stops when the battery is full.

Because the coil and pad need to be closely aligned to, you know, work, the car and charger communicate over Wi-Fi to direct the driver into the right place. Your parking doesn't need to be 100 per cent perfect, with BMW claiming the system will work with a few centimetres variance in alignment.

Why bother? Convenience. Rather than having to plug in when you get home, the car just charges automatically, so you're always jumping in with a full battery and, as an extension, the best chance of maximising efficiency.

Production for the charger will kick off in July, but American, Chinese, German, Japanese and UK buyers can get their orders in now.

Mercedes-Benz is planning to offer a similar system on the S-Class later this year, and we'd be surprised if Audi didn't jump on board the bandwagon soon as well.

Australia

BMW Australia said the technology is still in the early roll out stage, and will be headed for large markets first. Although it's looking into the system, there's no timeline or guarantee on its arrival.