• BMW i3

BMW i3 (Photo : Twitter)

BMW has announced it is transforming new and used batteries from its i3 electric car into energy storage units for homes and businesses. The German automaker shared its plans at an electric vehicle (EV) conference in Montreal, Canada.  BMW's battery storage system would help its customers to promote sustainable energy by working with the car company's home-charging and solar energy programs.

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Rob Healey is the manager of EV infrastructure for BMW North America. He stated that using repurposed i3 batteries would help BMW customers to live a more Earth-friendly lifestyle that extends beyond all-electric cars.

BMW's residential/commercial energy-storage system already uses i3 batteries. They can also be tweaked to work with second-life batteries.

However, there are few second-hand i3 batteries available as the all-electric i3 hit the market in 2013. More will be available as the batteries age and wear down. BMW shared that a repurposed battery can power homes for several years, according to Greentech Media.

BMW and Beck Automation have plans to turn old i3 batteries into plug-and-play energy storage systems. They will install the power sources into a Beck charging module. The units are built to fit in basements or garages where they can power homes or juice up EVs.

The energy storage units can operate home appliances and entertainment systems for up to one full day. They also include software to figure out the best times to charge or discharge the system. 

In theory the system would provide BMW fans a way to earn money from their cars by creating a new market for old car batteries. However, the automaker has not announced details about a battery buyback program.

BMW will compete with companies such as Tesla, which markets a 6.4-kilowatt-hour home battery. It sells the unit for $3,000 to installers and likely retails for about $7,000.

In related news, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has just offered to buy SolarCity. The $2.58-billion deal would join the San Francisco Bay Area car maker and rooftop solar giant, according to Los Angeles Times

Tesla Motors explained that the deal would extend its sustainability mission. It stated in a blog post its customers can already drive clean cars but they still need access to the biggest source of sustainable energy: the sun.

Here's a test drive of the 2016 BMW i3: