After first making an appearance in concept form at the international debut of the i8 in April 2014, BMW solar carport was unveiled to local media at the company’s South African headquarters in Midrand.

Built by SUNWORX, renowned designer and installer of photovoltaic solar systems, the BMW solar carport uses bamboo and stainless steel to house the glass solar modules. In accordance with the BMW’s i design and production philosophy, the solar carport leaves no carbon footprint on the environment. It supplies an average of 3,6 W of solar power (calculated at peak times on a clear sunny day) to the BMW i Wallbox – which in turn shows how much power is being generated by the sun and charge the electric and plug-in hybrid models from the Bavarian brand.

The company plants to expand installation of the solar carport in Mzansi’s major city centres like Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban – with private customers and fleet businesses able to order the unit for home and office charging.

“With the roll out of the BMW i solar carport, the BMW Group is demonstrating its commitment of shaping the future of individual mobility – not only with ground-breaking products and services, but also with the global as well as local involvement in the expansion of home and publicly accessible charging infrastructure for electrically powered vehicles. With innovative services like the solar carport, BMW is the first vehicle manufacturer to offer such a broad-based EV smart charging product to reduce costs for customers,” says Tim Abbott, chief executive officer of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Sahara.

“We have always emphasised that in order for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles to be successful, we need to firstly increase consumer confidence in the viability of electric vehicles and secondly make public charging easily accessible for customers who purchase these cars. The rollout of the solar carport is also an emphasis on this philosophy,” Abbott adds.

BMW will start rolling out the solar carport systems from July 2016.