Electric cars have big lithium-ion battery packs that enable it to hold enough charge to power the entire vehicle. Tesla’s electric cars can provide a range of up to 200 miles on a single charge and other car manufacturers are working on models with similar range. The BMW i3 electric car may not offer that much range but it’s going to enable customers to get more bang for their buck, as the company will reuse old BMW i3 batteries as home energy solutions.
The batteries in electric cars don’t last forever but that doesn’t mean the moment they become a liability for the car they have to head straight to the recycling plant. They can be useful in many other situations after they’ve been removed from the car.
At the Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition 29 in Montreal, Quebec today, BMW revealed plans to turn old batteries from its i3 electric cars into energy storage solutions for both residential and commercial usage.
The BMW i3 isn’t old enough to need a replacement battery pack as yet but that time will come after several years, and when it does, BMW and Beck Automation will offer owners a 2nd Life Battery Plan. The battery will be removed from the car and plugged into a charging module designed by Beck.
The battery can then be used to store solar energy, provided users have solar panels installed, and will eliminate the need to send it through the energy intensive process of recycling. Those who don’t have solar panels can configure the Beck module to charge the batteries when energy prices are at their lowest.
BMW is looking to start a trial of this idea in the United States by next year and a wider rollout of the program will follow after that.