BMW rolls out new solar carports in South Africa

BMW Welt, BMW Museum, BMW Plant Munich and Corporate Headquarters - Aerial view (03/2011)

(via PV-Magazine) The solar carport rollout is part of the German automaker’s global efforts to expand home and publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.

German automaker BMW has unveiled its new solar carports in South Africa, which it will begin rolling out in July.

The BMW i solar carport supplies an average of 3.6 kW of solar power straight to the BMW i Wallbox, which is used to charge electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models and which is equipped with a live readout of how much power is being generated by the sun.

Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Sahara, said the company was the first automaker to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product to reduce costs for customers. The rollout is part of the company’s global efforts to expand home and publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, Abbott added.

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

Customers and fleet companies will also be able to order the solar carport for home and office charging.

“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,” Abbott said. “The rollout of the solar carport is also an emphasis on this philosophy.”

The solar carport is produced by PV solar system designer and installer Sunworks. It is made of high-end bamboo and stainless steel housing for the glass solar modules.

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

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