BMW Canada is betting that EV drivers want to further reduce their carbon footprint by going solar. The company’s new electric i3 comes with an added purchase incentive for Canadians: a 10% discount on a home solar system (only available in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia). BMW partnered with Toronto-based Pure Energies Group, which will provide the solar home evaluations, panel installation, and relevant paperwork.
BMW Canada e-Mobility Specialist, Blair Dinsdale, stated in a press release that the solar energy offer “was designed to cover the exact amount of power you would use in the car, based on sun access in Canada.” According to Pure Energies Group, a 6 kilowatt (kW) system (24 panels) in Canada produces roughly 7,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per year. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the BMW i3 gets an estimated 100 miles of range per 27 kWh of electricity. Thus, with a 6 kW solar system, a homeowner could drive the i3 nearly 26,000 miles per year, exclusively on home-produced solar energy.
A Literal Sunroof
A February 2014 survey conducted by the Center for Sustainable Energy in California found that 32% of EV owners in the Western U.S. already have solar panels on their homes. While parts of Canada do not enjoy abundant sunshine, the province of Ontario does offer a feed-in tariff program to help offset the lack of year-round solar energy.
While combining solar with EVs is not new, the move by BMW to offer direct discounts on a home solar system is a first for the industry, and a smart one. According to Navigant Research’s 2013 Energy & Environment Consumer Survey, 79% of Americans have an overall positive impression of solar energy and 61% share the same impressions for EVs. While not all consumers of EVs purchase the vehicle for environmental reasons, the ones who do place great importance on where the electricity to power the car comes from. And, as you’d expect, EV owners align very closely with solar buyers from a demographic perspective.
Combining solar with EVs makes so much sense that several automakers are now showing prototype EVs with solar panels directly integrated onto the roof of the vehicle. The Ford C-Max Solar Energi and the Sunswift eVe have built-in rooftop panels. If BMW’s approach proves successful, we could see Tesla and SolarCity creating similar offers in the future. For more information on solar and EV synergy, check out Navigant Research’s research brief, Solar and Electric Vehicle Cross-Marketing Strategies.
Tags: Automotive Industry, Clean Transportation, Distributed energy, Electric Vehicles, Solar Power
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