When the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car launched in Los Angeles, it debuted alongside a new solar carport concept developed under California-based BMW DesignworksUSA. Designed and constructed to complement the sustainability mission inherent to BMW’s Project i, the solar carport provides a means for renewable energy that is purpose-built for use with the i3 and i8.
To harvest solar energy, the carport concept uses high-grade glass-on-glass solar modules. Energy collected from the panels can be channeled to BMW i8 or i3 plug-in electric vehicles via the BMW i Wallbox Pro. The wall-mounted charging unit also communicates analyses of solar energy supply to the vehicle’s battery, while the carport has the capability to direct surplus solar power for alternative use.
“With the solar carport concept we opted for a holistic approach: not only is the vehicle itself sustainable, but so is its energy supply,” said BMW Group designer Tom Allemann in a statement.
More than anything else, the BMW solar carport concept demonstrates the kind of lifestyle and future that the i3 and i8 vehicles can open up for its buyers. The structure’s carbon and bamboo construction echo the advanced technology and green initiatives that underline Project i, while the open design and clean lines reflect vehicle styling motifs.
Project i opens up a new conversation for the future of both automotive performance and sustainable innovation, and the solar carport is one example of how BMW and Project i could reshape our experience of cars and car ownership. The 2014 BMW i8, our 2014 Design of the Year winner, goes on sale in November starting at $136,625. BMW is already taking order for the 2014 BMW i3 city car, beginning at $42,275.