At the Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition 29 in Montreal, BMW unveiled a home energy storage system that will recycle the batteries of the i3 electric vehicle.
With the move, BMW is joining Tesla Motors in utilizing its electric vehicle battery technology for use at home, with the carmaker combining the i3's charging station with an extra battery pack.
The extra battery pack, with capacities of either 22 kWh or 33 kWh, can charge up from the normal power grid and store electricity generated by a home's solar panels. The system can also be programmed to charge up the batteries during times when rates for electricity usage are the lowest.
The system can then be used as a backup source of power whenever there are power outages, or as the main source of electricity for the home during peak times, when the rates of electricity usage are the highest.
These mirror the capabilities and functions of the Tesla Powerwall, which the company announced in May of last year.
BMW's home energy storage system will be able to utilize repurposed batteries of the i3 electric vehicle, which will expand the holistic sustainability of the car and support the next phase of energy independence and efficiency that BMW is looking to provide to its customers. This is different from the Tesla Powerwall, which uses dedicated batteries and not the ones that can be seen in the electric vehicle offerings of Tesla Motors.
Batteries from the i3 that will be used for BMW's home energy storage system will not have to undergo any modifications. Once a battery needs to be replaced, it can be removed from the vehicle and simply inserted into the system, which provides customers with an alternative to sending out the used batteries for recycling.
The catch, however, is that there are currently no used i3 batteries that are ready to be used for the system, as the program is not yet in place. BMW, however, will be starting the program in the United States as soon as next year, with a rollout of a larger scale afterward.
Until the systems are in place, it would be difficult to assess on which one between Tesla's Powerwall and BMW's offering is a better one in terms of storing and managing energy for the home of the future.
BMW had a recent victory over Tesla Motors though, when the Los Angeles Police Department tapped it over its rival to supply electric cars to the police force.