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BMW’s i Solar Carport

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BMW has recently presented its solar carport concept that compliments its zero emission i models. The carport will allow the owner to be totally self-sufficient in terms of supplying green power, with BMW advertising an independence from electricity prices. Using this carport, the fully charged BMW i8 will have a range of around 22 miles using only electricity. If the carport generates more energy than the the vehicle needs there is an adapter that allows the owner to use the excess inside their own home.

As far as looks go, the carport was designed to visually support the BMW i8 and the i3, while at the same time using sustainable sources. The supports for the solar panels that provide the roof are made from purely carbon elements and bamboo. The carports in Europe are under a 30-year guarantee, as the manufacturer touts them as extremely durable and capable of providing a long term high energy yield.

The designer Tom Allemeier explains BMW’s goals regarding the carport stating, ““With the solar carport concept we opted for a holistic approach: not only is the vehicle itself sustainable, but so is its energy supply. This is therefore an entirely new generation of carports that allows energy to be produced in a simple and transparent way. It renders the overarching theme of lightweight design both visible and palpable.”

There is no word so far as to how much one of these carports would cost, though I imagine that they would be pretty spendy. I suppose that a person in the market for a BMW i8 or i3 would be willing to make that investment to compliment their car and get maximum usage out of it. This again however will only be useful in climates with nice enough weather. I can’t imagine anyone in the Northwest investing in such a sun needy choice.



  1. Jier Qiu
    Jier Qiu

    It seems from the picture that these solar carport will be pretty well-built by BMW. However, carports with solar panels has been announced by many companies. As you mentioned in the blogpost, it will be really pricy. I personally think it takes too much space and would not have any impact on environment due to its limited implement on mass production. This will just become another toy for the 1% to show off their lifestyle.

    May 13, 2014
  2. Zachary Durkin
    Zachary Durkin

    I don’t see this ever taking hold besides among the 1%, just like Jier said. Also, this idea is a very dependent on geography. For example, imagine trying to get enough sunlight in the Pacific Northwest where its cloudy almost every day. I’d also like to know how long charging would take and how much money it costs to upkeep the solar panels vs. just using available electricity.

    May 13, 2014
  3. mayolj16

    I like the concept and the idea that BMW is seeking by promoting “green” energy since the major criticism to electric cars is that their energy still comes from the burning of fossil fuels. But when leaving BMW’s utopia world and going back to reality, these charge stations don’t look feasible at all. If BMW really wants to make a change in out energy sources, they could invest in renewable sources of energy for cities, instead of trying to sell it to individual users.

    May 13, 2014
  4. Kade Kenlon
    Kade Kenlon

    There are a few questions that arise with this kind of technology and there are several pros and cons. How much will it cost? This is a key question for obvious reasons. A lofty price tag may lead the company to mass produce the charging stations and have them be available for public use. If more companies were interested in this technology, the charging station may give rise to a whole new industry. The main issue with the car itself is the range that you get from one charge. When most people see 22 miles left on their car they are usually frantically trying to get to the gas station. Range will need to be developed more before these cars grow in popularity. Another major concern with the charging station is how long it takes for one charge. Overall, the solar energy charging station has potential as it completely eliminates burning fossil fuels. Perhaps wind could be another source of energy that would avoid burning fossil fuels as well.

    May 13, 2014
  5. Michael Barry
    Michael Barry

    I think that, more than anything, this is BMW’s way of acknowledging that the cars we drive, and the ways we power them are going to change a lot very soon. This may seem like an expensive, unreasonable option now, but if BMW is able to gain more experience and better techniques, they will likely benefit in the future if, as they seem to think, electric cars and personal solar stations become the norm.

    May 14, 2014
  6. Louis Ike
    Louis Ike

    I had not heard of this concept before now, and I think it is great idea. Although, it would emerge on the market as an item only feasible for purchase by those in the upper echelon of income brackets, the idea itself may be applicable in a more plebeian setting in the near future. Green is the move to the future, but I am not so sold that this carport does all that much in lowering emissions or “saving the world”. Nonetheless, it is nice to see some interesting innovation taking place by some of the larger firms in the auto industry.

    May 14, 2014

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