BMW has unveiled plans to enter the energy storage market with the use of its i3 batteries. Announced at Montreal’s EVS29 (Electric Vehicle Symposium and Exhibition 29), the German marque says that it will be the first automotive manufacturer to use a complete automotive high-voltage battery for energy storage.
The system is similar in concept to the recently revealed Nissan xStorage energy storage solution, which brings together a number of experts in various fields to provide a complete and fully installed domestic system. Tesla has also entered the home energy storage market with its Powerwall, though this currently makes no use of vehicle batteries.
BMW’s approach allows for the use of second life batteries from BMW i3 models, but has been set up from the outset to use new batteries, since there currently isn’t really a market for used cells yet.
Two battery capacities will be available – 22kWh and 33kWh – which will deal with the majority of demands from home users. Because the usage cycles are far less demanding for home use than in an EV, battery life is expected to far exceed that expected of an i3’s unit.
Designed to be compatible with both the grid and home systems such as solar panels, the BMW i unit is also designed to be easy to use with home charge points, making charging the owner’s EV cheaper still.
Cliff Fietzek, Manager Connected eMobility at BMW of North America: “The remarkable advantage for BMW customers in using BMW i3 batteries as a plug and play storage application is the ability to tap into an alternative resource for residential and commercial backup power, thus using renewable energy much more efficiently, and enabling additional revenues from the energy market.”
“With a battery storage system electrified by BMW i our customers can take the next step towards a sustainable energy lifestyle,” said Rob Healey, Manager of EV Infrastructure for BMW North America. “Coupled with the home charging and solar energy programs, the system enables BMW drivers to embrace holistic sustainability beyond e-mobility.”