BMW i3 batteries will become energy storage systems for the home

First, there was the Powerwall, the wall-mounted battery from Tesla Motors designed to store electricity generated by solar panels and help consumers escape the grid. Sensing the start of a trend, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan followed suit, offering sleek-looking batteries that double as energy storage solutions and conversation pieces. 

Now comes word that BMW will offer a home battery of its own — and its green credentials could make it especially popular with eco-friendly consumers.

Speaking today at the Electric Vehicle Symposium & Exhibition in Montreal, Quebec, BMW announced that it is working with Beck Automation to give old lithium-ion batteries from the BMW i3 a second life. When a car’s battery pack is replaced, consumers will be able to transfer the batteries to a charging module designed by Beck. (Sold separately, obviously.) The BMW- and Beck-branded system will store electricity that homeowners and business-owners can use to power computers, water-heaters, or, of course, their BMW i3s.

It’s an interesting variation on Tesla’s Powerwall, which is purpose-built from new batteries. Nissan’s xStorage system uses recycled Leaf batteries, but it appears that Nissan will repurchase those batteries and repackage them itself. BMW’s DIY, unplug-and-play approach to the issue of home energy storage is novel and might be very attractive to the sorts of green-minded consumers who purchase battery-electric vehicles. 

Images of Beck’s charging module aren’t yet available–and they might not be for a while, given that the oldest BMW i3s are only three years old. However, BMW has suggested that early models could go on sale next year.

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