On the 20th of May BMW Group South Africa unveiled its first solar carport. In the next few months (July 2016 onwards), BMW Group South Africa will expand the installation of solar carports in major city centres such as Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban for the public charging of its i3 and i8 models. According to a press statement made by BMW SA, customers and fleet companies will also be able to order the solar carport for home and office charging. Produced by the American based Sunworks – designer and installer of photovoltaic solar systems. This initiative prioritises a zero carbon footprint as the solar carports are made of high-end bamboo and stainless steel housing, continuing the mantra set in motion by BMW’s 360° ELECTRIC portfolio.
Bamboo is considered a particularly sustainable and high strength 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 roll-out of the solar carport is also an emphasis on this philosophy,” says Tim Abbott, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BMW Group South Africa. This project will also lessen electric cars’ affect on the national power grid and will increase the future of the electric car in South Africa.
The i Solar, as it is called was first showcased as a concept at the BMW i8’s international media launch in April 2014.
Have a look at the video below for a demonstration of what the i Solar entails as BMWLOG charges an i8.
By Shawn Greyling