Getting EVs off the grid
Ford Motor Company and SunPower announced yesterday a key partnership pairing rooftop solar systems with the purchase of the soon-to-be released Ford Focus EV.
Dubbed the “Drive Green for Life” program, Ford dealers will be able to combine the sale of a Focus EV with a discounted rooftop solar system to recharge the vehicle’s battery. The 2.5 kilowatt rooftop system is designed specifically for recharging the Focus, engineered to provide enough power for about 1000 miles of travel per month. After all federal tax credits are applied, the cost of the solar system should run about $10,000. In some locations however, state and local rebates could push the cost down significantly.
Owners opting in for the car charging system will also have the option to upgrade the system to power their homes as well. SunPower says such an upgrade would be at about the same price point as the car charging system.
Ford plans on releasing the EV Focus in the fourth quarter of this year with five other electric or hybrid-electric models coming out in 2012.
The arrangement is exclusive between SunPower and Ford for now, but charger systems will be standardized across carmakers and should work with all EV’s as the program expands.
Jeanine Cotter, CEO of Luminalt Solar Energy Solutions, likened the program to having the ability 30 years ago to freeze the cost of gas at $1.20 per gallon for 20 years.
“You’re locking in your energy costs for the next several decades,” she said. “If I could have done that 30 years ago, I would have.”
Both Ford and SunPower promote the arrangement as a means of lowering vehicle operating costs for owners. With the charging system under warranty for 25 years, says SunPower CEO Tom Werner, “Some Focus owners may never have to spend an additional dime on energy for their cars.”