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BMW and SOLARWATT team up for solar carport system


April 30, 2013

The SOLARWATT Carport System

The SOLARWATT Carport System

BMW’s sustainable mobility-focused sub-brand BMW i has announced it is to join forces with German photovoltaic firm SOLARWATT GmbH, in a bid to supply consumer-friendly solar-powered carport and rooftop charging systems to future i3 and i8 owners.

The latest collaboration is part of a wider push by the German automotive giant to ensure owners of its upcoming i3 and i8 electric vehicles have ample charging options open to them. BMW has already established partnerships with Naturstrom, Schneider Electric and The Mobility House, and this new deal will give EV buyers the opportunity to purchase SOLARWATT's Carport System alongside a BMW i vehicle, or separately over the internet.

The system utilizes glass-glass PV modules – which the company cites as offering an increased lifespan and durability, compared to glass-foil modules – to provide solar-based battery charging for BMW EVs, as well as micro power generation for the household.

“This is the next step in the BMW i 360-degree package for customer-friendly electric mobility,” enthused Marcus Krieg, head of BMW’s 360-degree ELECTRIC project. “With SOLARWATT, we are delighted to be working with a premium partner for customized solar solutions who will cater to our customers’ high standards of quality and style.”

Source: BMW

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Another example of how other countries are moving ahead of the U.S. in innovation and technology. We are fast becoming a welfare 3rd world country.

S Michael

It's another example of fools, regardless of the country, who fail to do logical structural design. This pictured frame loading system appears clueless.

This folly structure is embarrassing to BMW and SolarWatt once they take notice if its to be built as they say with normal wood carpentry. Only if it were welded steel or steel reinforced concrete could you have the main rafter loaded header chopped up with rafter spliced joints as shown. Or are they silly fake ornaments? This is not a good image for a hi tech engineered manufacturers.


ei3io seems to have a significant unfounded bias against wood. Nowhere in the article do I see the that wood was used as the construction material. However, the word sustainability is used which means that wood probably was used instead of steel or concrete. Wood can be very "high tech", after all, the first airplanes were made with composites i.e. wood and would not have flown if they were not made from that material at the time. So perhaps BMW does know what they are doing.


Assuming you want a extremely expensive car with a part time power source and a shelter that doesn't offer much shelter for the car, good.


It figures that Slowburn would come up with something negative...as usual. Auto companies should finance BOTH the car and the solar carport in one package. No more gasoline stops or costs for most commuters. Cars could be a back-up power supply in an emergency or at the campsite.


re; fleming

Your electric car won't take you to a good campsite, and there are far more cost effective hybrid designs than using the very expensive electric system with its capacity loosing energy storage system.


re: Slowburn

I am confused, I think you are referring to range issues when you mention the fact that the BMW EV will not get you to a good campsite. I don't think in this article that BMW was claiming that the i3 or i8 were designed for that function. Second, in the recent past you have said that you think hybrids are stupid. Have you changed your position on that drivetrain option for vehicles?


Robin, I have absolutely no bias against wood,, if you read their website 'they' say its to be built with wood and normal carpentry.

Even if it is ex$pen$ive and less sustainable Steel Reinforced Concrete or Welded Steel it is laughably dumb illogical design..

What is painfully clear is how unaware most folks are in Architectural Design Values. It is inexcusable for a hi tech company to be that brain dead ignorant to be doing their PR with tacky and foolish looking design.


re; JF-

Read fleming's comment to put my response to his in context.

I think that electric hybrids are a bad idea because the batteries are extremely expensive and loose capacity with use. I have always liked pneumatic and flywheel hybrids that if given the same level of subsidies that the EV and EV hybrid are receiving would cost less than the pure ICE equivalent.

re; ei3io

While I think that carports are a pretty silly idea your comments appear to mean that the carport should have a Tec/Modern hideous form That no one sane would put in there yard not to be an embarrassment. If being aware of Architectural Design Values means not having good taste I treasure my ignorance.


Slowburn Sorry to have offended you,, you are correct about batteries alone as very short sighted in being short tripped. Can I assume now where you might sit in the Hydrogen fuel cell vs Battery debate?

On Architectural Design you shouldn't relish ignorance,, but relinquish it to evolve your mind don't stifle it.


re; ei3io

The Hydrogen fuel cell vs Battery debate? it is a stupid debate they are both bad ideas. Hydrogen fuel cells are better than batteries because you can refuel quickly without damaging the tank and the tank doesn't loose capacity with use. (Unless you are using a storage medium like metal hydride and your hydrogen is contaminated.) but the fuel cells are expensive, fragile, and easily poisoned. Also hydrogen is a lousy fuel it is expensive to generate, migrates through almost everything, makes many metals brittle, and has low energy density even when stored at very high pressure, or as a ultra-cryogenic liquid. The energy density is not impressive when stored as a metal hydride either especially when you consider the energy cost of lugging the storage medium around.

On Architectural Design. After you have mastered structural design so what you built will not collapse from its own inadequacies, (This carport looks structurally sound.) is the question does the structure do the job it is intended to do well. (The carport does in fact provide some shade for the car, and provide a base for the solar collectors.) You are left with taste or decorative details. (Most of use find the carport to be pleasant to look at. You apparently were confused by the decorative fake rafter ends sticking out and threw a tissy fit about unsound construction.) Weather you want no decoration, as much intricate decoration as you can cram into the space as possible, or whatever you call that terribly ugly pile of crumpled titanium that makes people physically ill that houses the Denver art museum it is simply a matter of taste.


Architectural Design includes the structure and if the job that it was intended to do is overly costly and is also a fake tacky lie of honest expression it fails to be good design.

Maybe some might like to put extra wheels on the side panels of their car since they like the look of wheels,, I say go for it as car art,, but they cant expect anyone to think its actually good design. Some may want added decoration crammed into their subjective world and that's fine but they also cant expect to be valid in the wider objective world view with its far more many people.

One's own ignorance in seeing a crumpled titanium that makes only a few ignorant people think they are ill due to their confusion [called information overload] is an art form that is simply a matter of taste that if informed and enlightened to the aesthetics is most certainly valid.


re; ei3io

Having vertigo induced to the point of falling down or blowing chunks doesn't make one ignorant.

Also the first paragraph contradicts the last.


Being ignorant and disliking it you propose causes nausea ,, its because its being when faced with its confusion.

The paragraphs don't contradict unless your are unaware of the discussion.

Being Not Enlightened Regarding Discussions is something to overcome with knowledge.

Give it a try

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