At the Consumer Electronics Show, BMW has announced a release window for its i Wallbox Pro that unites domestic solar power and the electricity grid. The box itself was shown off during last year's i8 drives and it rests inside a solar carport to control the simultaneous delivery of both solar power and the electric grid energy to recharge an i8. One drive attendee wrote how the Wallbox Pro display showed that it was providing 3.4 total kW to the coupe, with 2.8 kW from the sun and 0.6 kW from the grid.

At CES, BMW said the i Wallbox Pro, brought to life by BMW DesignWorks, will be available in 2016. For homes that aren't equipped with solar power, or when solar isn't available, the system will draw power from the grid when it's least expensive.

The Munich manufacturer also announced a concept storage solution using discarded batteries from its electric cars, where excess energy from solar or other sources could be held for later use for a vehicle or the home itself. BMW will be demonstrating the i Wallbox Pro at CES and the press release below has more information.

TRANSLOGIC 153: BMW I8
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BMW i Home Charging Services unveiled at the CES Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas

Pioneering integrated charging solution for electric vehicles brings further reduction in charging costs and integrates home solar generating systems with the household electricity system.


Munich / Las Vegas- January 5, 2015... At the Consumer Electronics Show CES 2015 in Las Vegas (6 – 9 January 2015) BMW i will unveil a further innovative product from its 360° ELECTRIC portfolio: BMW i Home Charging Services. This smart solution for home charging of electric and plug-in hybrid BMW models is based on the smart home-enabled BMW i Wallbox Pro system already presented by BMW in spring 2014.

How the smart charging service works.
Using BMW i Home Charging Services, the vehicle is charged with homegenerated solar power whenever this is available. At other times, or if the household does not have a solar generating system, the vehicle is automatically charged at the cheapest off-peak rates. This makes it possible to take advantage of flexible electricity pricing that varies depending on the time of day. In the USA, this can result in savings of up to 800 dollars a year. With this fully automated charging service, customers get a simple-to-operate system that integrates vehicle charging with the household electrical system and online-based data systems.

"With Home Charging Services, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product," says BMW Project Manager Julian Lienich. "Our aim is to make mobility as cheap as possible for users and to allow them to maximise their use of green power – but without having to organise everything themselves."

In Las Vegas, BMW will stage a live demonstration of BMW i Home Charging Services, which was jointly developed by BMW and Beegy, a provider for distributed energy-management, based on the Beegy Software Platform. In this demonstration, a solar carport supplies solar power straight to the BMW i Wallbox, which uses it to charge the vehicle. The system also uses real-time solar power data and home energy data supplied by Solarwatt and Kiwigrid. A screen at CES displays real-time weather data, together with solar power forecasts, showing visitors how BMW uses such forecasts to optimally manage charging times. Even if the sun is not shining, real-time electricity pricing data from Genability can be used to ensure that the vehicle is charged when electricity rates are at their cheapest.

The Home Charging Services demonstration in Las Vegas also gives BMW the opportunity to present a concept product: a stationary energy storage system built from repurposed batteries previously used in BMW i electric vehicles. Energy fed to this home storage system – for example home-generated solar energy – can subsequently be used to charge an electric vehicle or to meet household power needs. The ability to use solar energy regardless of time of day helps households to achieve higher levels of energy self-sufficiency and to minimise the impact of rising energy prices.

Optimised costs, optimised energy use and simple operation.
To sum up: BMW i Smart Charging Services aim to optimise charging costs and – if customers have a home solar generating system – to make best possible use of home-generated solar power. The fact that the system is integrated with home energy management systems also makes it possible to achieve the best possible balance between household electricity consumption and power used for charging the electric vehicle, thereby helping customers to achieve further cost savings and to make even more efficient use of solar energy.

A solar carport with a roof area of 25 square metres or more can produce enough power for 32,000 kilometres of electric driving a year (global average). Smart use of this power will in future provide BMW i customers with a fully self-sufficient charging solution for their vehicle.

This is the world's first EV smart charging solution of its type, and it will be available to customers by 2016.

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