BMW Group DesignworksUSA has designed a solar carport to house the new i3 and forthcoming i8 electric vehicles. BMW is revealing the one-car solar garage concept as part of the official media launch of the i8 in Los Angeles.
The concept follows previous efforts from the German automotive giant to power its "i" sub-brand using renewable energy. It last year unveiled a similar carport system conceived in partnership with the photovoltaic firm SOLARWATT GmbH.
The latest design features an insect-like frame that makes extensive use of bamboo and like the SOLARWATT system, it features glass-on-glass solar modules on its rooftop.
The system is designed to work in conjunction with BMW’s i Wallbox Pro, enabling owners to charge direct from the solar collector panels and providing a detailed report on the amount of solar going into the system and how that compares against grid consumption. Any excess energy produced by the carport can be fed back into the owner’s residence for domestic use.
BMW's solar carport concept may not be quite as eye-catching as say, the Pure Tension collapsible solar pavilion revealed by Volvo last year, but it does appear to have a better chance of moving beyond concept stage.
The i8 hybrid, when fully charged has a range of approximately 22 miles (37 km) in all-electric mode.