In a bid to reduce the carbon footprint and charging costs of its EVs and plug-in hybrids, as well as to bring a fully integrated solar energy system to homes as part of its 360° ELECTRIC portfolio for BMW i Home and Public Charging Services, BMW South Africa is rolling out a solar carport system beginning in July of 2016.
The BMW i solar carport, which was first unveiled as a concept at the BMW i8 international media launch in Los Angeles in April of 2014, as well as the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January 2015, is said to be able to supply an average of 3.6 kW of solar to the BMW i Wallbox, which can then provide charging to the company’s EV and plug-in hybrids, as well as feed into a home’s energy management system.
“With innovative services like the solar carport, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product to reduce costs for customers.” – Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Sahara
The BMW solar carport, which is expected to also be rolled out to major cities such as Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban for public EV charging, is produced by Sunworks, and employs “high end” bamboo and stainless steel housings for the solar modules, which is said to be “in line” with the design and production philosophy of BMW i, with an emphasis on moving to a “zero carbon footprint” for the program.
“We have always emphasized that in order for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be successful, we need to firstly increase consumer confidence in the viability of electric vehicles and secondly make public charging easily accessible for customers who purchase these cars. The rollout of the solar carport is also an emphasis on this philosophy.” – Abbott
This solar charging solution will be available for both homes and offices, and could serve as an element of companies’ EV fleet charging programs, as well as to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels for both direct electricity use and vehicle charging. The solar carport is designed to work with the BMW i Wallbox, which will be available in two versions (Plus and Connect) and can provide a charging capacity of up to 22 kW in three-phase operation. The Wallbox is said to enable “comfortable and fast home garage charging,” can be integrated with home energy management systems, and includes a real-time display of solar generation stats to further inform its users of the productivity of the system.
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