3,000 US Audi e-tron Buyers Can Drive On Sunshine For Free

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The first 3,000 Audi e-tron buyers* in the US after February 3 are getting a 10-year subscription to solar power for their electric driving, according to a press release from Audi. The German automaker has partnered with Arcadia** to provide the clean energy bonus. The subscription is completely free for the consumer.

This doesn’t mean the buyer actually gets solar panels on their roof. What they get is a contract to virtually be the recipient of electricity from solar panels installed elsewhere in the United States, which can lower their electricity bill.

“Savings from this solar power are applied directly to the customer’s home energy bill without having to install any hardware. Each subscription with Arcadia helps generate enough electricity to offset the approximate cost of up to 2,400 miles of driving per year,” Audi writes. Audi expects that this partnership with Arcadia could support 29,000 MWh (29 GWh) of clean solar electricity, “offsetting the equivalent of 22,000 tons of carbon dioxide, or 2.3 million gallons of gasoline.”

Image from Electric Car Drivers: Demands, Desires & Dreams (2019).

As we’re discovered through EV owner surveys for years, and recently included in our latest EV driver report, approximately 32–38% of EV owners have rooftop solar panels. Many owners would like solar power but don’t own the roof over their heads or have a roof that’s not suitable for solar panels. Arcadia offers an option for such people to get solar power virtually.

The Audi e-tron owner basically gets a stake in a commercial solar power project (for 10 years) and then save money on electricity as long as the cost of the electricity produced from the solar plant (plus admin fees and such) is lower than what they’d normally pay for electricity.

“Arcadia’s remote solar projects enable customers living within the service territory of a compatible utility to subscribe to a commercial-scale solar project. With lower anticipated cost and environmental impact than fossil fuel energy, the remote solar project sends electricity directly into a local building’s meter or back into the power grid, and, in turn, Arcadia is able to provide subscribers a prorated share of any savings in the form of a credit on their electric utility bills. Through a web- or app-based Arcadia digital platform, members sign up to auto-pay their standard electric utility bill and receive a monthly statement detailing their savings, environmental impact, energy usage and more. Through the Arcadia mobile app and online dashboard, customers can view the details of their solar projects and electricity bills. Because Arcadia’s software is available in all 50 states, the 10-year Audi solar subscription can transfer with the original, eligible e-tron purchasers even if they move residences.”

If a new e-tron owner is eligible for this, all they have to do is follow the instructions in an email from Audi to link their existing utility account with Arcadia. They can then pay their electricity bill — and watch their savings roll in — through Arcadia’s website or app. There is absolutely no additional cost to joining the program, only the potential for financial savings. Arcadia currently has more than 400,000 members across the United States.

On top of this, the e-tron is also produced at a carbon-neutral factory in Brussels, Belgium. So, there’s a lot to be happy about.

The e-tron was awarded a 2019 IIHS Top Safety Pick+ rating and an NHTSA 5 star safety rating. It has an EPA-estimated range of 204 miles on a full charge, 57 cubic feet of cargo space, towing capacity up to 4,000 pounds, a panoramic sunroof, a 0–60 mph time of 5.5 seconds, 74 MPGe “fuel economy,” superfast charging up to 150 kW (which peaks at a rate of about 163 miles in 30 minutes or 54 miles in 10 minutes), and a base price (MSRP) of $74,800 before a potential $7,500 federal tax credit (as long as you have that much tax liability). More details are here.

*The buyer has to be fully eligible, including having an electricity provider that will engage with Arcadia for this. However, Arcadia does have partner utilities in all 50 states.

**We’ve previously covered Arcadia under its former name, Arcadia Power.

All images courtesy Audi.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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