Photovoltaic Electric Systems are the ideal match for electric vehicle owners seeking a low-cost and low-impact lifestyle. 

Get your solar on! The electric cars (EV = electric vehicle) are coming! Fact is, they’re very much here. In 2014 at least thirteen new electric car models came to market in the United States; 22 EV models are currently available in this country. Demand for EVs is steadily rising though you readers well know that we are yet in the early stages of EV ownership. One major issue is the charging infrastructure that needs to develop nationwide so that EVs can be driven throughout the country with drivers having full confidence that charging stations can be found to “fuel up”. It’s happening.

Ideally, sunshine is what fuels your EV. We at IPS are installing more and more EV charging stations in conjunction with Sunpower solar systems – a natural and cost effective match. It makes sense to get all the wiring done at one time.

While EVs can be charged with a conventional 120 volt outlet, a more practical method of charging is via a 240 volt charging station. (Note: While EVs do charge on 240 V, it is not a standard 240 V home outlet that is used.) Since solar panels take up roof space – or yard space for pole mounted systems – it is wise not to “squander” space with lesser efficiency panels. The best choice is the state-of-the-art, top efficiency panel, Sunpower. Based on average driving habits, about a 3.5 kW solar array is needed to power an EV. (This The actual size solar system you would need depends on a variety of factors such as distance you drive and how much sunshine is available.)

With a PV system on your roof (or elsewhere on your property), you can “fuel up” on sunshine at home – just by plugging in. But even when charging an EV on the predominantly carbon fueled grid, the overall EV carbon footprint is considerably less than that of a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle. (And it is a fact that the grid is slowly being greened with solar and wind generated electricity.)

Electric vehicle battery

There are a number of variables to consider in estimating the costs of an EV. The models range in price of course. There is a federal tax credit up to $7,500, and there are state rebates. (See the link below.) EVs are low maintenance and as they have no transmission, exhaust or ignition system, use no oil and have much fewer moving parts than an internal combustion engine, they require few repairs. Honda, Ford and Toyota all offer warranties on their EV battery packs for eight years or at least 80,000 miles. Curious but not ready to commit to an outright purchase? Why not lease an EV?

Right now you can lock in your electricity expenses – ultimately eliminating your electric bill altogether (except for line charges) – and lessen your carbon footprint; now is an excellent time to install solar panels – and buy an electric car. Fuel is free, the supply endless.

And finally, if you don’t see an EV in your near future, but you like the idea of an electric vehicle, how about an electric bicycle or motorcycle? And try sun fuel. ‘Cause driving on sunshine just feels better. Don’t forget to wear your helmet.

For further information, check out these links with useful information about EVs:

Electric Vehicles in the U.S.

About EV Charging

State & Federal Incentives for Hybrids and Electric Cars