One of the big problems of electric vehicles is that while you’re saving on emissions by avoiding the pump, you are still possibly creating a problem by plugging in and potentially getting your power from coal or oil. Leave it to the engineers at BMW to create an elegant, and beautiful, solution.
Essentially, it’s a garage to tuck your car in with a roof of solar panels. You simply park your electric car in the garage, which is really more of a shade for your car than anything else, plug it in, and walk away. The sun soaks the panels, the panels create electricity, and your car is fully charged when you need to drive it again.
Soak Up The Sun
If that weren’t enough, this is designed with sustainability in mind. It’s made entirely with carbon fiber, solar panels, and bamboo, all of which are easily created economically and sustainably. And it also means lower electric bills while helping to take you a bit further off the grid. It’s true that this won’t make your home completely self-sustaining; it really only exists to power your car. On the other hand, charging high-capacity batteries isn’t exactly cheap in the first place, so being self-sustaining on this particular score isn’t the worst idea.
Revolving Around The Sun
There are a few issues with this design. Like any solar array, it’s really only useful in places that get a lot of direct sunlight. And in places that see a lot of precipitation that might cover, or smash, the panels, this might not be the most effective idea. And finally, you’ll probably have to replace the cells every few years. But, if it makes electric cars more self-sustaining (and cheaper), it’s definitely a good idea. It’s only a concept for now, but BMW may offer it as an option soon.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.