BMW’s battery storage system set to compete with Tesla’s Powerall

Shubhda Khanna Nag

Friday 22 July 2016

German car giant, BMW has announced its plans to launch energy storage solutions using i3 high-voltage batteries at a conference in Montreal earlier this week.

The energy storage system can run on new batteries as well as a repurposed i3 pack from an old electric car. This means, if you own an i3 and you’re looking to upgrade your car, you can use the old battery set for your home’s energy storage system.

“It doesn’t make sense to scrap the battery at the end of the useful life of the car because it’s still good for services like powering your home,” Cliff Fietzek, manager of Connected eMobility at BMW, told Tech Insider.

BMW’s battery storage system could come up as a strong competitor against Tesla’s Powerwall, which has already gained a lot of popularity in Australia. While Tesla’s Powerwall comes with a capacity of 6.4 kWh where you can choose to stack up to nine batteries together for greater capacity, BMW is planning to offer two options for residential users with a capacity of 22 kWh and 22kWh.

To put this into perspective, an average 3-person household in Sydney uses 15.1 kWh of electricity a day in winter, according to the Australian Energy Regulator.  

While battery storage is a great way to consume the energy generated by a household’s solar panels at night and during peak hours when the costs are higher, at this point, research shows it’s difficult for a battery to completely power an average home so that it can go entirely off the grid.

Given that the government’s generous feed-in tariffs will fall considerably across most states by the end of the year, it’s important for Australians with solar panels in their homes to compare and switch to the cheapest electricity plan for their area. Mozo’s online energy comparison tool helps users find the best energy deals in their postcode.   

Another useful feature of BMW’s battery system is that it will use real-time energy readings to measure the available electricity supply and demand and then make the necessary calculations to determine the optimal time to charge or discharge the system.

The battery pack is sized in a way that it can be conveniently placed in the basement or the garage of a detached house, where the stored energy can be used for electrically-operated devices in the home or for charging the battery of an electric car.

“One of the unique selling points of our system is we are literally taking the battery out of the car and unplugging it,” Robert Healy, manager of BMW’s electric vehicle infrastructure, told Tech Insider. “Our system is a plug-and-play system. We are the only OEM that can do that.”

BMW has not yet announced when the battery system will be ready for launch and how much it’s likely to cost.

To keep up with the latest news and offers in the power sector, check out our detailed energy guides as well as the free online energy comparison tool.

Compare Energy

Find energy plans available in your area in just seconds.

Compare now
Back to top