BMW Group DesignworksUSA developed a green solar carport concept aimed at charging the BMW i range of vehicles.

BMW said the international media launch of the BMW i8 in Los Angeles will include the presentation of said solar carport concept developed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA for the use of renewable energy. The carport is said by BMW to combine high-grade technology for generating electricity from solar power with an innovative design that perfectly complements the BMW i models.

In its choice of materials, design and color, the DesignworksUSA carport concept takes cues from the styling of the BMW i models to form a harmonious counterpart, added BMW. The holistic sustainability concept is underlined by the materials used in the construction of the carport and by its solar modules; in addition to the carbon elements on the side of the carport, the principal material used is bamboo in the form of struts.

Thanks to its rapid growth, bamboo is considered a particularly sustainable raw material.

BMW added for the generation of electricity, high-grade glass-on-glass solar modules are used. These are translucent and very durable, as well as generating a high energy yield. For the panels used in Europe, the manufacturer offers a 30-year guarantee.

The solar carport allows for a supply of green power as well as energy self-sufficiency, so that customers remain independent of electricity prices, explained BMW Group DesignworksUSA; in conjunction with the BMW i Wallbox Pro, the car can be specifically charged with solar electricity from the carport. The Wallbox also indicates the amount of solar energy that goes into the car and provides an analysis of recent charging processes which shows the respective proportions of solar and grid power.

If the solar panels provide energy beyond the requirements of the vehicle, this surplus solar power can be put to domestic use, added BMW.

Generating private electricity with the aid of solar collectors and feeding this CO2-free energy via the BMW i Wallbox into the vehicle’s high-voltage battery further optimizes of the life cycle assessment of the BMW i models, per the German manufacturer. Regularly hooking up the high-voltage battery to the Wallbox connected to the solar carport enables a high degree of CO2-neutral usage of the BMW i8.

BMW stated the i8 plug-in hybrid sports car has, with a fully charged battery, a range of around 37 kilometers (22 miles) in all-electric mode.

During development of the solar carport concept by BMW Group DesignworksUSA, the spotlight was firmly on the harmonious interplay between vehicle design and architecture, stated the design firm. The glass-on-glass solar modules of the carport are supported by exclusively designed bamboo and carbon elements that reflect the hallmark lines and surface sculpting of the BMW i automobiles.

“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 Tom Allemann, who is responsible for the carport design at BMW Group DesignworksUSA. “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.”