Power your e-bimmer off of the sun? BMW offers solar panel packages for i3 buyers’ homes through SOLARWATT

BMW SOLARWATT

For many early electric car owners, powering their vehicle using solar power is the ultimate goal. Smartly, BMW has recognized the pleasure derived from powering one’s EV from solar-generated electricity. Accordingly, the German automaker has teamed up with solar power company SOLARWATT to supply BMW EV buyers with rooftop photovoltaic solutions, for a nominal fee.

While simplifying the solar power process is a new twist, automakers simplifying EV ownership with an outside partnership isn’t. Just last year, Ford and Best Buy’s Geek Squad combined forces to provide Ford Focus Electric and Fusion Energi buyers with 240 volt charging stations in their homes. Though the energy was pulled off the grid, the concept was rather genius: take the complexity and confusion out of EV ownership.

The BMW move takes that idea one step further and allows buyers of the soon-to-be-unveiled BMW “i” electric vehicle brand to harness the power of the sun. BMW brags, “The BMW i3 will be the first electric vehicle on the market that has been designed specifically for electric mobility from the outset.” What that means exactly, we don’t quite know.

Customers will need to derive a great deal of satisfaction from powering their BMW i3 off of the sun, though. Solar home systems are rather expensive. Yes, the systems do create energy, offsetting energy bills; an average system rarely generates enough over its lifetime to supplant the cost of its construction and installation. But that could change as the technology matures and evolves.

BMW has not yet said in which markets the SOLARWATT systems will be available, nor has it indicated costs. We suspect that the SOLARWATT solar package would be less money than one pieced together from scratch, as BMW likely beat up SOLARWATT a bit on costs.

If you have to ask, however, you’re probably not going to be able to afford – or justify – it.

Product Review

Razer just made our favorite gaming laptop even more powerful than before

The Razer Blade, our favorite gaming laptop, is now more powerful than ever before. That’s thanks to the new Nvidia RTX graphics cards inside. Do they help Razer retain its edge over the competition?
Cars

Nissan is using old Leaf batteries to power and connect off-the-grid campers

Nissan has teamed up with trailer manufacturer Opus to design a mobile, weatherproof power pack built with battery cells sourced from the first-generation Leaf. Called Roam, the pack stores enough electricity to power a camper for up to a…
Home Theater

Still listening on tinny, muffled TV speakers? Try one of our favorite soundbars

You no longer have to sacrifice sound for size when selecting home audio equipment. Check out our picks for the best soundbars, whether you're looking for budget options, pure power, smarts, or tons of features.
Wearables

To be blunt, the Vuzix Blade smartglasses just don’t cut it

We tried out the Vuzix Blade to find out if it’s worth shelling out $1,000 for smartglasses. Are these augmented reality, Android-powered glasses really ready for primetime or just an expensive gimmick that no one really needs?
Cars

2019 RAM 1500 Classic Warlock special edition: Badass style without the whoop

If you like the looks of blacked-out badass trucks without the cost of a desert racer, FCA announced the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock, a special edition pickup that focuses on appearance with only a touch of additional off-road capability.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz updates the timeless G-wagen for the modern world

For decades, the G-Class has been an outlier in the Mercedes-Benz portfolio, a body-on-frame brute with the soul – and driving manners – of an off-road pickup. With the all-new G550, Mercedes seeks to smooth out some of the rough edges.
Cars

2020 GMC Acadia toughens up on the outside, gets smarter on the inside

The 2020 GMC Acadia crossover gets styling updates and a more rugged AT4 trim level. Under the skin, the Acadia sports a new turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a wider array of tech features.
Cars

Alfa Romeo’s latest Ferrari-powered F1 race car is ready to hit the track

Alfa Romeo is doubling down on Formula One racing after a decades-long hiatus. Now essentially a support team for Ferrari, its 2019 driver lineup includes a former world champion and a potential future star.
Cars

Researchers teach self-driving cars to predict pedestrians’ next moves

University of Michigan researchers are developing a system that teaches self-driving cars to predict pedestrian movement. Humans don't always act in their own best self-interest, so autonomous cars will need to practice protective driving.
Cars

Subaru’s latest VIZIV concept car is pumped full of adrenaline

The Subaru VIZIV Adrenaline is the seventh member of the Japanese automaker's family of VIZIV concept cars. It debuts at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, but for now, all we're getting is a shadowy teaser image.
Cars

Audi is advancing the tech that teaches cars to talk to traffic lights

Audi is teaching its cars the language of traffic lights. The company developed technology that tells motorists what speed they should drive at in order to catch as many green lights as possible.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Cars

Watch a modified Audi e-tron electric SUV drive straight up a ski slope

A modified Audi e-tron climbed up an 85-percent gradient on an Austrian ski slope in a tribute to a classic Audi commercial. The vehicle used for the stunt sported an extra electric motor and spiked tires.
Cars

Mamma mia! Alfa Romeo will unveil a new model at the Geneva Auto Show

Alfa Romeo told Digital Trends it will unveil a new model at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show. It stopped short of revealing what it has in store, but rumors claim it will be a crossover positioned below the Stelvio.