Tesla pioneered the idea of harnessing solar power to create an incentive to lure potential customers to its cars. Late last year the Californian startup opened the first of a series of ‘fueling’ stations where owners of its Model S could drive in and charge their batteries to approximately half their charge, for no cost whatsoever.

Now BMW, which later this year will launch its first of a new range of electric cars, is announcing a similar concept.

Rather than establish its own solar-powered charging stations, BMW will offer owners of its new i range of electric cars an elegant charging system designed to be installed on a garage at their home.  

The solar-powered home charging system has been developed by fellow German firm Solarwatt and includes a household microgeneration system that can be used to help reduce a home’s power bill.  

The amount of power generated by the system will depend largely on how much sunlight hits the panels during the year, though it’s been shown that even in areas where it’s mostly cloudy substantial electricity generation can be realized.

No details on pricing have been revealed, though once again this will likely depend on the location of the installation and how many panels are required.

BMW’s first electric car will be the i3 hatchback, which will be available later this year as a pure electric or as an extended-range electric. On a single charge of its battery, the i3 should be able to cover a distance of approximately 100 miles, while the extended-range option boosts that figure to around 186 miles.  

The i8 sports car, pictured above, will arrive early next year.