BMW i Wallbox Pure (left) and BMW i Wallbox Pro (right)

BMW i Wallbox Pure (left) and BMW i Wallbox Pro (right)

At the recent CES Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, BMW, besides presenting its autonomous i3, also showed off its charging solutions - BMW i Home Charging Services.

One of the products is the smart home-enabled BMW i Wallbox Pro, presented in 2014, which could be integrated with solar power in the house and/or programmed to use the cheapest off-peak rates.

It probably will be significantly more expensive than other 7.4 kW units, although BMW claims that you can save up to $800 a year with good power optimization.

"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."

"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."

BMW Project Manager Julian Lienich said:

“With Home Charging Services, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product. 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.”

The other interesting idea was a concept of an energy storage system, utilizing used battery modules from BMW i cars. We bet that in few years, BMW will add ESS to the BMW i Wallbox Pro offer.

"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."

There is of course a solar carport concept with a roof area of 25 square meters, which could in one year generate enough energy for 32,000 km (20,000 miles) and will be available on sale "by 2016".