Carmaker BMW showed off its vision for charging electric cars at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The concept, which the company hopes to have on the market in the near future, is a solar powered carport system capable of generating and storing energy that can power the carmaker's electric vehicles. Ben Gruber reports.
STORY: BMW took advantage of the desert sun shining at this year's CES in Las Vegas to show off its concept for powering electric cars in the near future. It's called the i360 carport, a sleek design incorporating 40 solar panels and a state-of-the-art smart energy storage system capable of communicating with both your house and your car. BMW's Julian Leinich says that along with producing clean energy to power an electric vehicle, the carport is also eco-friendly in its design. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIAN LIENICH, OF BMW, SAYING: "What we are doing here is really sublime to our sustainable approach for mobility. So you can see the structure that is bamboo, we also have carbon fiber elements that you can also find in our cars and various sustainable and good materials. The glass panels are very durable modules, they are very good efficiency and very good for design ethics." Beyond the aesthetics, the carport is designed to synergize with other power sources in the home. Lienich explains this approach ensures that energy consumption is highly efficient by maximizing the use of the solar power produced by the carport. The concept's key feature, though, is BMW's iEnergy Storage system, which stores the electricity produced by the carport. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JULIAN LIENICH, OF BMW, SAYING: "The storage concept becomes a part of the home and is the part of the optimization process. It allows you to charge your car from solely solar energy. Then when you're away it stores your solar energy during the day and then at night it allows for the car to charge from the energy stored. We manage this through a smart home energy system and thereby fully integrate the car." BMW says they are serious about incorporating renewable, sustainable green technologies across their entire product line and the smart carport is a big step in that direction.