Plugging in an electric car to recharge often happens in the dark confines of a garage, but BMW wants to brings its u3 and i8 EV range into the light with a new BMW i Solar Carport Concept. Mounting translucent solar panels on top of a bamboo frame – the wood picked for its rapid regrowth – the carport could be entirely off-grid, BMW claims, though you’d obviously need to get enough sun.
That wouldn’t be an issue in California, perhaps, where the design studio responsible for the carport is based, but certain parts of Europe – such as BMW’s own home in Germany – might be a little more difficult.
BMW’s solar panels of choice are glass-on-glass modules, which are particularly durable and, the car company points out, come under a 30 year warranty. Assuming there’s a regular power supply available too, the carport can combine sources to make sure the car is topped up.
Alternatively, if there’s more power being generated from solar than the i3 or i8 requires, the excess can be used for domestic purposes instead.
BMW will show off the concept in LA, though there’s no word on when – or even if – it’ll be offered to i3 and i8 drivers any time soon, nor how much it might cost if that became the case. Currently, BMW uses a more traditional “i Wallbox Pro” charger, which can top up the BMW i8’s 22 mile all-electric range.