BMW’s rechargeable home battery could rival Tesla’s

Image from The Verge
Image from The Verge

BMW is working with Germany’s Beck Automation to use complete BMW i3 battery packs as a home energy storage solution.

The system utilises BMW i3 high-voltage batteries and can be expanded to incorporate 2nd Life Batteries as they become available in the market. This strategy will extend the useful life of the battery for the owner, even beyond in-vehicle use.

The key advantage for BMW customers in using BMW i3 batteries as a plug-and-play storage application is the ability to tap into an alternative resource for residential and commercial backup power, thus using renewable energy more efficiently and enabling additional revenues from the energy market.

The home storage technology isn’t yet on the market – and BMW has not yet provided any kind of estimate for how much it would cost. However, BMW has said it is planning to offer two at-home battery options with a capacity of 22kWh and 33kWh, far better than Tesla’s Powerwall, which offers 6.4kWh of capacity

It’s a major step up from other battery options on the market as well, according to Tech Insider. Sunverge offers an at-home battery with 23kWh of capacity and ElectrIQ will offer one with 10kWh of capacity at the end of 2016. Other automakers in the field, such as Mercedes and Nissan, only offer 2.5kWh and 4.2kWh of capacity, respectively.

BMW connected emobility manager Cliff Fietzek said the capacity is enough to power an average home for 24 hours.

BMW also plans on having a competitive edge by cutting down on the cost of installation. The automaker will resuse the batteries in its BMW i3 for home energy storage. Reusing batteries instead of making entirely new ones means BMW doesn’t have to build any kind of air conditioning unit for its system, cutting down on the cost of installation.

“One of the unique selling points of our system is we are literally taking the battery out of the car and unplugging it,” BMW’s electric vehicle infrastructure manager Robert Healy told Tech Insider.

“Our system is a plug-and-play ststem. We are the only OEM that can do that.”

It’s not yet clear when BMW’s at-home battery will hit the market, but the automaker will launch a pilot program to test it soon, most likely in California.

BMW is partnering with Solar City to eventually sell its batteries, rather than appealing directly to customers.