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Electric Vehicles Gaining Popularity as Solar Seen as Viable Fuel Source

Posted on Thursday, April 18th, 2013 at 11:45 am by Solar Energy USA

In the United States, electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining ground on gas-powered cars. As of March, 2013, there were 34,000 EVs on the road. Those looking to purchase a new car now have more than 14 different EV models to choose from, a figure that will triple in the next two model years.

EVs are more affordable than you might think. Fiat, for example, fiat-500e-plug-in-electric-vehicle  is offering a leasing plan for $199/month for 36 months (with $999 down) for its new 2014 500e series which should be available later this year. If you want to buy it outright, the new Fiat will set you back $32,500 — minus the $7,500 federal tax credit (California residents get another $2,500 credit). That makes the new Fiat price competitive with many gas-powered econo-cars.

Nissan offers a $199/month lease for 36 months and a $1,999 down payment on their all electric Leaf.



These low monthly payment leasing models combined with stellar fuel savings are a driving force behind growing EV popularity. Imagine you drive 70 miles a day 5 days a week for a total of 1,400 miles per month (16,800 miles per year). Driving a 35 MPG car, you would need 480 gallons of gas to travel 16,800 miles. At a national average price around $3.50 per gallon, your annual driving costs $1,680 dollars ($140 dollars per month).

Now, imagine in this same scenario that you decide to lease a Nissan Leaf for $199 per month, and also assume that you’ve installed solar panels on your home so that you can refuel on sunshine at the end of each day. In this scenario you no longer pay for gas – instead you are recharging your EV with electricity, specifically solar electricity in this example.

Let’s assume you’ve installed a 1kW system using 4 270 watt solar panels and you’ve decided to utilize the Solar Energy USA $0 Down, 0% Interest finance option for 60 months. The monthly payment on a 4 panel system is approximately $134 per month (not including the 30% federal tax credit and any additional utility rebates or incentives for solar).

In this scenario you pay $134 per month for your new solar energy system but you save $140 dollars a month because you no longer pay for fuel! You’ve got a shiny new solar panel system for your home, a solar powered car, and an extra $6 dollars in your pocket each month! Pretty incredible!


Brian Wynne, director of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, says that drivers are getting more and more options than ever before with various forms of electric vehicles.

“These are really fun cars to drive,” Wynne says. “As we get the word out, we will continue to see an accelerating curve for sales. We are still at the early stages in socializing people to fueling their cars with electricity. Still, it’s much more convenient to fuel my car with cheap electricity than go to the gas station and shake my head about gas prices.”

Nationwide there are 5,612 public charging stations, according to the Department of Energy’s great locator map. All EVs are sold with a Level 1 or “trickle charge” charging station which is basically an extension cord that plugs into a standard 110V garage outlet. While a Level 1 charging station will meet must recharging needs in an overnight scenario, we recommend purchasing and installing a Level 2 EV charging station which recharges a battery twice as fast.

Looking to “refuel” your plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle with solar power?

Contact us to schedule a free in-home solar energy consultation. We’ve helped a number of A EV drivers take advantage of the sun’s free and unlimited resource. We’d love to talk with you about solar powered cars and solar powered homes!