UPDATE: BMW i3 Becomes Electricity Dispenser In New Video


Dispensing one electron at a time.

***UPDATE: BMW has released a new, related video. It’s now embedded at the bottom of this post.

This new video from BMW shows the future where a BMW i3 cranks out juice to power other electric items.

In a brief press release associated with the video, BMW only states the following:

A glimpse into the future by BMW i. “The simple life.”

The BMW i3 carries much electricity on board; often even more than what is needed for driving. This video shows what could be done with it. The BMW i engineers are working on it.. (BMW i3 as a electricity dispenser)

Clearly, BMW is hinting at a vehicle-to-grid-like or vehicle-to-home-ish system here in which power from the battery could provide electricity for other items or perhaps even a home.

The i3’s rather small battery pack doesn’t lend itself to usage such as this unless it’s occasional and/or for small appliances (as shown in the video). Big batteries are more well-suited for providing continuous outbound power.

Categories: BMW, Videos


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28 Comments on "UPDATE: BMW i3 Becomes Electricity Dispenser In New Video"

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(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Any EV/PHEV (ICE also but stanky) can do this with a 12Vdc to Puresine Inverter.
Is this supposed to be a new thing BMW?

12V to 3phase 400V/16A outlet? That is what the orange socket shown is.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

The principle is the same. DC to some form of AC. Here in the US it would be a 120vac or 240vac Puresine.

I don’t think BMW would put out a product like that….for one the i3’s 12v battery is only 40 amps (was 20amps 2014-2015) – that outlet/plug looks to be a 16amp Type F (230V)…that would kill a battery like that real quick….I am going to assume they are connecting that outlet to the HV battery which is a big thing, since up to now, only the Nissan Leaf has done power out from the HV battery….

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Doesn’t the i3 have a HV to DC DC step down converter to 13.8VDC?

But that won’t be capable of doing 11kW. What sort of sense would that make.

Pretty certain that all i3’s have the same 20 Ah 12 V battery. A 40 Ah battery is listed as a warranty replacement battery, but it is too large to fit in the i3’s battery box without modifications.

The average home in much of the US uses around 20kWh, so should be good for capacity. Most homes built before 1950 had only 30amp service, this stepped up to 60 amp until 1965, so I think this old cabin may be OK with 40amps.

BYD and others in China already have available output from charge connector at 3 or 4 kW of power. For some reason US models haven’t gone after this market, maybe safety or competing with other products (could totally replace generators with this).

The 12VDC circuit is good for your laptop charger but certainly not enough to run your kettle.

By using the 400V battery, one can obtain a significant amount of power; much more than the DC-DC convertor can supply. If one has the REX, the duration of power is very long. Much more efficient than having an ICE idling to power the 12V alternator. Others have done DIY projects with industrial Uninterruptable Power Supplies:

This would provide the missing link to allow me to benefit from my solar panel during a power outage (with appropriate measures taken to disconnect from the grid
– Hazard to utility workers
– Power flowing from house to grid would overwhelm generating capacity)

Pulling energy from the 12V secondary battery is a hack. It’s not possible to pull much more than 2000W that way.

Any real implementation would pull from the primary battery and use a dedicated inverter to deliver 120/240V at high amperage.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

It all depends on the load you plan on using.
Most people won’t ever use more than a 1200W continuous load. I use it for a blender for drinks tailgating, that’s a “Real” implementation.

That looks like European 3 phase outlet, so most likely tapping the HV battery (the 20/40amp 12v battery would be dead quick otherwise)? – I’d be super excited if it could do 220v at 30 amps – that could power most things at my house when there are extended power outages….even better if the REx could turn on (while outside) and be used as an extended generator….

The other thing I noticed was that roof rack…where’d they get that?! I have been told by multiple rack manufacturers they won’t develop a rack that can work i3’s carbon fiber roof…..oh nevermind….looking again, that roof rack is attached via suction cups…not sure I’d trust that too much……

That looks like a new rim and tire combination? Off-road tires will be offered soon?

Both outlets shown are only rated for 16A.

Yes, you are right…I was thinking that was a three phase power output – maybe they could do a higher amp 2 phase output… …but hey, if they ever bring it to the IS, and it can do 16amps at 240v, that would still be pretty great…

The red output is 3-phase 230V(400V between phases)/16A to neutral, the blue is 1-phase 230V/16A.

The wheels seem to be just repainted versions of the base i3 wheels, which makes them look like different wheels.

As far as the roof rack, plenty of BMW M owners with carbon roofs use Sea Sucker brand roof racks without any issues. I have one for my i3, as well, but haven’t used it enough to give a long-term review. No issues, so far, though after a few uses.

Where is that roof rack coming from?
Never seen it before and it shouldn’t be anyone else then BMW manufacturing it since it’s their video.

What brand is that roof rack??


Living a civilized life.
It could happen.

Since the prototype of the solar car “Sion” from Sonomotors is said to have many recognisable parts of the i3 in it, and it already has the bidirectional supply built-in, is it possible that the Sonomotors startup and the BMW are much closely tied than we think?

Hmmm… I thought it was odd for him to leave his remote cabin with what looks like no source of electricity, and then drive into a town and use his car to run electrical appliances? I missed something. I’m all for being able to power stuff with your car though!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


They imposed the sound of a sloppy 2stroke chainsaw for the electric one she used……..ROTFLMAO

Hehe One electron at a time…. Seeing as 1 ampere is 1 coulomb per second, that ain’t enough to run a chain saw..

I use a 2000/4000 watt 12 volt inverter with my Bolt ev. Its good for around a continuous 1200 watts and more for motor starting.

Too bad this article didn’t have any detail – I’m assuming somewhere around 1500 watts?

This again is just the issue of silly videos raising more questions then they answer… What is the big State Secret? Why can’t they just say what it is, if it is for Europe ONLY (i.e. no 110 volt models), when is it available, what is the price?, and on and on. Nothing was answered.

Just checked the I3 website for the USA, nothing about this is mentioned at all.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

The most interesting thing is that cool a$ss’d roof rack with a built in LED bar.

The roof rack is attached with suction cups (also notice how that roof rack is empty in both commercials)…and I have a bad feeling that the LED lightbar is probably powered by batteries and you have to turn it on/off on the unit itself….

That tire and rim combination however looks interesting….Perhaps, we’ll see an i3 in a Off Road Rally: https://jalopnik.com/watch-a-finnish-rally-legend-drift-a-cute-little-bmw-i3-1825570128

… back in the day it did ok on the track as well https://insideevs.com/review-from-the-track-bmw-i3-gets-driven-to-the-limit-by-pro-driver-i-ride-shotgun-wvideo/