As BMW moves forward with their plans to introduce their fully-electric vehicle i3 in 2013, the company is offering its testers, the 700 US citizens now leasing BMW’s ActiveE electric vehicle (EV) a chance to get a photovoltaic solar system for their home through a partnership with Real Goods Solar.
Under the partnership Real Goods Solar is offering a 35 percent discount to the leasers of the ActiveE vehicles. “This is an opportunity for them to charge their vehicle with renewable energy and get a lot of their household electricity from solar energy,” said BMW spokesperson David Buchko. The vehicles are charged via a 220-volt, 30 amp charger that offers level 2 charging, which can fully charge a vehicle in about 4 to 5 hours.
Under the partnership homeowners can pay for the PV array with the discount or opt for a solar lease. “It’s offered as zero-down lease arrangement. There is no up-front cost involved,” Buchko said.
However, the deal is limited to those that have an ActiveE vehicle. And those markets are limited to California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.
The roll out of the vehicles is the second in a three-phase launch to more commercial availability of BMW’s EVs, according to Buchko. “We did extensive testing from 2009 to 2011,” he said. That was first with the Mini E, 600 of which were made—450 of them leased int the U.S.
The cars were offered under a lease arrangement that some leasers extended to two years. One customer put 72,000 miles on the Mini E. Through the testing they found that the Mini E was suitable for daily commuting in the U.S. But the car had its limits, including a battery pack that was so big the Mini was reduced to a two-seater (The ActiveE is a four-seater). They also found that leasers commonly charged their vehicle at night when some electric rates are lower.
The lower costs for electricity purchased at night also means that homeowners with a PV array can benefit from generating their power during peak hours of usage, when they’re paid more for the power produced than they would be for power produced at night.
BMW plans to introduce the i3 across the U.S. starting in 2013, according to Buchko. However, it is too early to tell if it will be introduced nationwide or in select markets first. As such, it’s also to early to tell if BMW will make a similar offer with Real Goods Solar or another solar installer in the future.
picture courtesy of BMW