Solar charging is indisputably one of the best ways of running an electric vehicle. It certainly mitigates any lingering worries about fueling your car with a smoke-belching coal-fired power plant.
BMW is backing solar too, commissioning its BMW DesignworksUSA arm to design a stylish solar carport, perfect for the i3 electric car and recently-tested i8 plug-in hybrid sports car.
It's the latest part of BMW's holistic view on electric mobility--making step of the process greener, rather than churning out electric vehicles and leaving it at that. BMW announced the idea last year, but this is the first time we've seen the finished product.
With sustainability in mind, BMW's solar carport takes its cues from the cars themselves, employing high-tech and sustainable materials in equal measure.
Where i-car interiors are filled with naturally-dyed leathers, eucalyptus wood and carbon-fiber accents, the carport uses carbon accents and bamboo struts--the latter picked for its rapid-growing, easily-renewable attributes.
Sitting atop the structure, the solar panels themselves are high-grade glass-on-glass units, both translucent and durable. They should last longer than you're likely to keep the car--in Europe, the solar panel manufacturer offers a 30-year warranty.
It also does a nice job of shading your car from the sun--cutting down on that initial need for a blast of air-conditioning in hotter climates. No energy yield is quoted, but the large flat panels should comfortably feed the i8's 22-mile range through BMW's own 'i Wallbox Pro' charging unit.
No price is quoted either, and we can't imagine such a structure will be cheap. It is, however, one of the best ways of charging your electric BMW, and enhances their green credentials just a little further