Like Volkswagen EV drivers, those who buy a BMW i3 will be able to ensure that any electricity they use at home to charge their car comes from non-fossil fuel sources, BMW announced last week.
In a deal with renewable energy supplier GoodEnergy, anyone who orders a BMW i3 will be given the opportunity to switch energy suppliers to Good Energy’s 100 percent renewable energy tariff. The deal follows a similar move earlier this month between Volkswagen and renewable energy provider Ecotricity.
Like other renewable energy providers, Good Energy owns a large proportion of the wind farms it uses to generate green electricity, but it also offers a feed-in tariff scheme to enable those with solar panels or other microgeneration capabilities to feed excess power they’ve generated back into the grid.
BMW says that i3 customers won’t be under any pressure to switch to Good Energy, but thinks that many customers will want to ensure that the electricity they use to power their i3 on a daily basis is generated with as little carbon as possible.
This comes on top of the i3’s already low carbon footprint thanks to BMW’s extensive use of renewable energy in the i3’s innovative manufacturing process.
But how does it work? At the exact time of writing this article — the middle of a Monday morning rush hour — the majority of the electricity generated and consumed by the UK population comes from dirty fossil fueled power stations. In fact, renewable energy sources only account for around five percent of all electricity generated. That very fact leads many electric car naysayers to claim — erroneously — that electric cars are worse for the environment than gasoline ones.
The solution, Good Energy says, is its promise to buy or produce an equivalent amount of renewable energy from 100 percent green sources like wind, solar, wave, or biomass for every kilowatt-hour of electricity consumed by its customers. Unlike some green tariffs — which use a power mix which includes nuclear power generation — Good Energy only uses renewable sources for its electricity.
Sadly, the tie-up between Good Energy and BMW doesn’t seem to offer any special rates for BMW i3 drivers who make the switch, but like every energy provider, Good Energy offers optional Economy 7 tariffs — known as time of use metering in the U.S. — to make charging at nighttime much cheaper than charging during the day.
Of course, it’s also not about the electricity generation either. BMW’s partnership with Good Energy, like VW’s partnership with Ecotricity, is a warning shot across the bows of the six big energy providers in the UK, who are currently riding roughshod over the UK’s energy marketplace. Unlike Good Energy’s certified 100 percent renewable tariff and Ecotricity’s 100 percent renewable generation mix, the big six energy providers (EDF, E-on, N-Power, British Gas, Scottish Power, Scottish & Southern) have an average renewable energy mix of between 8 percent and 14 percent.
Moreover, many of the big six energy suppliers are embroiled in an inverse price war, raising the price of electricity as winter approaches.
Kudos to BMW and Good Energy — and VW and Ecotricity — for thinking differently.
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