BMW Repurposes Used i3 Batteries as Home Energy-Storage Devices

BMW i3 EV coupled to charging stationFollowing in Tesla Motors’s footsteps, BMW is also planning to enter the energy storage business. The German car maker recently unveiled that both new and used i3 battery packs can be repurposed as home energy-storage devices.

BMW presented the new energy storage system at this year’s Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition 29 in Canada. The system was a joint project of BMW and Beck Automation.

Any type of battery from BMW’s i3 electric vehicles can be turned into energy-storage devices for residential use. Even batteries that are too worn out to be used in an electric vehicles can be given a “second life,” the German car maker said.

The auto maker explained that batteries unfit to power a car still have enough energy-storage capacity to be used in people’s homes.

BMW has been working on the system since 2013 when it developed a “micro-grid” system with help from a research team at the University of San Diego. A year later, BMW tried to use the batteries to grant more stability to power grids.

But BMW is not the only car maker to give a “second life” to its cars’ used batteries. GM, Nisan, and several others are running similar projects. The Japanese car maker Toyota even equipped Yellowstone Park with several used battery pack from its Camry hybrids.

BMW’s energy-storage devices will come in two sizes: 22 kWh and 33 kWh. This is equal to the energy output of battery packs in its 2016 i3 and 2017 i3 models respectively. The automaker says that a single battery pack can cover all energy needs of an average U.S. home for up to 24 hours. In the U.S., a single household consumes on average 30 kWh per day.

The system will also make home owners less dependent on energy grids as they will be able equip their homes with batteries that store solar power for a later use. But for this purpose people will also have to have solar panels in their own backyard.

BMW said that another benefit of the system is a low carbon footprint whenever a user chooses to charge his or her electric vehicle at home since the power source 100 percent green.

Furthermore, i3 car owners could benefit even more as they will be able to turn their used batteries into energy-storage packs for their own homes.

Image Source: Wikimedia

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