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BMW South Africa starts rolling out solar carport charging for electric and plug-in hybrid models

BMW South Africa starts rolling out solar carport charging for electric and plug-in hybrid models.

As part of the expansion of its 360° ELECTRIC portfolio for BMW i Home and Public Charging Services, BMW South Africa today unveiled its first solar carport that will be rolled out locally from July 2016.

The BMW i solar carport supplies an average of 3,6kW of solar power straight to the BMW i Wallbox, which is used to show a live readout of how much power is being generated by the sun and charge electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models.

BMW South Africa starts rolling out solar carport charging for electric and plug-in hybrid models.

The BMW i solar carport concept was first shown at the BMW i8 international media launch in Los Angeles in April 2014 as well as the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in January 2015.

“With the rollout of the BMW i solar carport, the BMW Group is demonstrating its commitment of shaping the future of individual mobility – not only with ground-breaking products and services, but also with the global as well as local involvement in the expansion of home and publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electrically powered vehicles. With innovative services like the solar carport, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product to reduce costs for customers,” says Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Sahara.

In the coming months, BMW Group South Africa will expand the installation of the solar carport in major city centres such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban for public charging.

BMW carport charging
BMW South Africa starts rolling out solar carport charging for electric and plug-in hybrid models.

Customers and fleet companies will also be able to order the solar carport for home and office charging. Produced by SUNWORX – designer and installer of photovoltaic solar systems – the BMW solar carport is made of high end bamboo and stainless steel housing for the glass solar modules, the solar carport is in line with the BMW i design and production philosophy, which prioritises a zero carbon footprint.

Bamboo is considered a particularly sustainable and high strength-to-weight ratio natural composite material useful for structures.

“We have always emphasised that in order for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be successful, we need to firstly increase consumer confidence in the viability of electric vehicles and secondly make public charging easily accessible for customers who purchase these cars. The rollout of the solar carport is also an emphasis on this philosophy,” Abbott adds.

Holistic approach to electro-mobility

BMW’s holistic approach to electro-mobility is typified by 360° ELECTRIC product and service packages. This includes;

  • Home charging with the BMW i Wallbox,
  • Charging on the go at public charging stations with ChargeNow – a charging card used for access and payment at a number of charging stations offered in South Africa, and
  • Assistance Services designed specifically for electro-mobility. For example, BMW i ConnectedDrive navigation services not only include the charging status of the high-voltage in route planning, but also recommend the most efficient route.

In this way, 360 ELECTRIC is already making electro-mobility a practical alternative for many people today.

Charging at home with intelligent charging solutions from BMW i 360° ELECTRIC:  Wallbox, installation service and BMW i Green Energy.

The customer performs around 80% of the charging processes either at home or at the workplace. With the recent announcement of the BMW i3 (94 Ah) – a revised BMW i3 model with a more powerful battery and increased range – BMW i will be offering a new BMW i Wallbox worldwide for comfortable and fast home garage charging.

BMW electric and plug-in hybrid
BMW South Africa starts rolling out solar carport charging for electric and plug-in hybrid models

This Wallbox has been adapted to the new charging technology and in addition to single-phase operation now also offers a charging capacity of up to 22 kW in three-phase operation.

Available in two versions (the BMW i Wallbox Plus and BMW i Wallbox Connect), the BMW i Wallbox is the perfect solution for convenient, safe and fast charging at home. Almost every third driver of a BMW i3 now opts for this exceptionally sophisticated charging station. In cooperation with specialised partners, BMW i also offers its customers a personal installation service.

The environmental balance of an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle is further optimised if its high-voltage battery is charged with renewable energy. Within the framework of BMW i Green Energy, customers in 15 countries now receive assistance in the use of electricity gained from regenerative sources they either acquire from energy providers or produce themselves. The partners with whom the BMW Group cooperates in this field include ten providers of green electricity as well as four manufacturers of solar power installations for carports as well as house and garage roofs.

With its comprehensive portfolio of products, services and piloting innovation projects, BMW i demonstrates how e-mobility today already is an alternative for an increasing number of people when it comes to every day usability and advanced sustainability standards.

The fact that the solar carport charging system can be integrated with home energy management systems also makes it possible to achieve the best possible balance between household electricity consumption and power used for charging the electric vehicle, thereby helping customers to achieve further cost savings and to make even more efficient use of solar energy.

Smart use of this power will provide BMW i customers with a fully self-sufficient charging solution for their vehicle.

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