Ford is partnering up with SunPower, a solar panel maker, to give buyers of its new Focus Electric, which is due next year, the option to fill up with renewable power at home.
The 2.5-kilowatt rooftop solar system is installed at an owner's home and will offset about 1,000 miles of electric driving per month that would otherwise have to come from the grid. If you live in a sunnier state like Arizona or Nevada, you can derive even more energy gains from the solar array.
The 1,000-mile estimate of solar-assisted charging does not directly go into the EV, said Ford spokesman Dan Pierce. The key word here is “offset.” Because most folks drive their cars during the day, the aim is to offset the potential “dirty” energy you’re using to charge your EV at night by piping clean solar energy into the grid during the day. Theoretically, if you drive less than 1,000 miles a month the added energy will lead to lower utility bills.
If you’re interested in purchasing a Ford EV, a dealer will ask if you want to set up the solar array during the buying process. The system will cost an estimated $10,000 or more, which includes installation and federal tax credits.
The system doesn’t include any sort of fast-charging unit. You can purchase a 240-volt charging unit for the Focus EV or the C-Max Energi. It’s estimated to cost less than $1,499 and includes installation by Best Buy’s Geek Squad.