BMW whipOn Wednesday May 7, BMW announced a brand new solar carport concept, to be launched alongside the upcoming launch of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid:

The international media launch of the BMW i8 in Los Angeles will include the presentation of a solar carport concept developed by BMW Group DesignworksUSA for the use of renewable energy. It combines high-grade technology for generating electricity from solar power with an innovative design that perfectly complements the BMW i models. 1

This is a pretty big push for BMW and represents a new approach from the long-standing auto maker. The new i line of vehicles – which we had a chance to see at CES – combined with the new solar carport, represent a broad, creative approach to green design. The company has clearly taken the steps to make sure that the i line and the carport are as environmentally friendly as possible:

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. 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.2


The carport provides owners with the ability to only use energy generated from the carport, providing a great deal of energy independence. Further, any excess energy can be put into use:

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.3

The date of the launch is still unclear.