Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

BMW's Recycled Electric Car Batteries to Power Homes

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

BMW's Recycled Electric Car Batteries to Power Homes

Article excerpt

BMW wants to make throwing away car batteries a thing of the past.

The German automaker says it will soon recycle the battery cells of its i3 electric vehicle by installing them in homes, providing a family with enough electricity for up to two days.

The company says it will offer a standalone energy storage system in the near future, which its new and used i3 batteries will power, in an announcement on Tuesday at the electric vehicle symposium EVS29 in Montreal.

BMW will be the first electric vehicle manufacturer to recycle its batteries for use on homes. It's not the first to develop standalone energy storage systems, however. Tesla's Powerwall has received the most attention, although a host of other automakers have developed their own versions. As they do, they are dissolving the line between home and vehicle energy as they and electricity producers shift away from fossil fuels.

"With a battery storage system electrified by BMW i our customers can take the next step towards a sustainable energy lifestyle. Coupled with the home charging and solar energy programs, the system enables BMW drivers to embrace holistic sustainability beyond e- mobility," said Rob Healey, BMW North America's manager of electric vehicle infrastructure, in a statement.

BMW's system is straightforward. The unit will be connected to a home's electrical grid, storing electricity either generated by rooftop solar or bought at a low rate from energy providers. The module can hold 22 kilowatt-hour (kWh) or 33 kWh capacity batteries. The average home in the US consumed 15kWh to 30kWh per day in 2014.

Where BMW seeks to stand apart is with its i3 batteries, which it says users will be able to recycle by installing them into charging modules when they are no longer reliable enough to power electric vehicles. Once the modules become available, it's likely that customers will first have to buy new i3 batteries because the vehicle has been produced only since 2013 and there is no oversupply of used batteries. Regardless, the announcement of this option has highlighted automakers' interest in electricity.

While Tesla has received the most attention, numerous automakers have been actively testing standalone energy storage units, reported Greentech Media. …

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