BMW’s highly anticipated i line of flashy electric vehicles

BMW partners with SOLARWATT to offer its future EV owners PV systems


Mockup of BMW's i8 under a SOLARWATT carportLooking at BMW’s highly anticipated i line of flashy electric vehicles (EVs), you’d likely think to yourself that the future is now, or, “didn’t I see that vehicle in a sci-fi movie?” BMW hasn’t started selling the EVs yet, they’re expected to hit the market towards the end of 2013. But the company has been partnering with a number of companies to make the launch as convenient as possible. Most recently it partnered with SOLARWATT to provide photovoltaic rooftops and carports with EV chargers to the future owners of its all-electric i3 coupes and i8 sports cars. The company first unveiled the concept cars in 2011 after keeping the project in stealth mode for a number of years.

The German auto manufacturer previously partnered with Real Goods Solar to offer testers of its ActiveE EV—the predecessor to the i line of EVs—a discount on a PV array and charger. Likewise other car manufacturers have teamed up with solar companies to offer EV customers PV systems and EV chargers. For instance, Ford has partnered with SunPower, and earlier this year Honda partnered with SolarCity and created a $65 million fund to offer Honda customers a SolarCity PV array.

The new SOLARWATT carports will feature glass-mounted PV modules and a household microgeneration system, according to BMW, which could include a Schneider Electric charger for the EV. The partnership is being made through BMW’s 360° ELECTRIC project, which is bringing players together to support EVs. “This is the next step in the BMW i 360-degree package for customer-friendly electric mobility. With SOLARWATT, we are delighted to be working with a premium partner for customized solar solutions who will cater to our customers’ high standards of quality and style,” said Marcus Krieg, head of the 360° ELECTRIC project.

It’s other partners in the project include Naturstrom, Schneider Electric and The Mobility House. “These partnerships will support the overriding goal of ensuring that, by the launch date, the charging options for the BMW i3 and BMW i8 will include customer-friendly, sustainable and convenient solutions for home garage charging. All these partnerships are centered on the concept of sustainability,” BMW said.