2015 CES: BMW i8 demonstrates how inductive charging works in Las Vegas

Article by Christian A., on January 7, 2015

It appears that charging cables for electric or plug-in hybrid cars will soon disappear and BMW knows this fact very well. As a result, the Bavarian manufacturer is planning to offer charging cables as an option and at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) it showed everyone how the wireless charging technology works on the i8 hybrid sports car.

Using a magnetic field that transmits electricity between a base pad located on the floor and a coil found on the underside of the vehicle, cables are no longer needed and you can simply park your vehicle and watch how the charging level of the battery increases on your smartphone app.

Back in July 2014, BMW and Daimler announced their partnership on wireless charging, which means that wireless charging is definitely very close. Regarding the BMW i8 shown at CES, the battery can be fully charged in just two hours, which is about the same time as using a normal cable.

Despite using the inductive charging, the BMW i8 only offers an all-electric range of just 20 miles or 32 km and a top speed of 75 mph (120 km/h).

For those who don’t know, the i8 uses a 1.5-liter three-cylinder petrol engine that produces 231 hp (170 kW) and 320 Nm of torque, as well as an electric motor with 131 hp (96 kW) and 250 Nm of torque.

The total output delivered by the hybrid system is 362 hp (266 kW) and 570 Nm of torque, which means an acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds (0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds), while top speed is limited at 155 mph or 250 km/h.

Indeed, the design of the body of the BMW i8 body is a breakthrough, just like the vehicle’s whole concept. Its lines, surfaces and proportions communicate its efficient, lightweight design and signature BMW dynamics. Its overall design makes the new i8 easily recognizable not just as a BMW i model, but also as a new generation sports car.

The unmistakable look of the new BMW i8 is made possible by the structure of its overlapping and interlocking surfaces, as further emphasized by its color scheme. With this layering principle, designers were able to wrap the i8’s aerodynamic forms in a progressively styled package, with dynamic wheel arches placing focus on the car’s wide track.

New i8 also boasts of a compact construction – which helps distinguish both its electric motor and its conventional engine. These allow its front and rear sections to have low-slung design, helping highlight its dynamically stretched flanks. Likewise, the sporty intent of the BMW i8 is conveyed through its wing-like doors that open forwards and upwards.

Being a BMW i car, the new i8 carries the black belt signature feature. This black belt emerges in a "V" shape from the hood of the i8, and flows back over the roof into the rear section.

Here, the black belt frames the center section of the rear apron, and is overlapped by the "floating" roof pillars that extends over the rear lights. On the front end, the black belt is framed by the body-colored apron and side panels. In addition, the new i8 features the so-called "stream flow" contour – another BMW i signature detail -- of the side window styling. This stream flow determines the path take by air as it flows between the falling roofline and the character line that rises through the rear flanks towards the rear spoiler lip.

Up front, the new BMW i8 defines its pure sporting intent through a number of details like the large front apron air intakes laid out over several levels. The front end is also defined by the broad BMW kidney grille that extends to the slim full-LED headlights, helping accentuate the width of the i8 while highlighting its confident stance. These headlights adopt the signature U-shape of BMW i models, with dipped and high-beam lights emitted by a lens positioned on the extreme edges. Thanks to their three-dimensional design, these light sources give the i8 a sporty character.

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