Solar-powered cars. They exist. We’re talking about automobiles that capture energy from the sun, convert this into electricity, and propel you forward.
It’s like a dream come true.
But before you rush out and buy one, you should know that today’s solar-powered vehicles are obscenely expensive and not terribly efficient.
These futuristic roadsters are mostly used on the “green” racing circuit. In other words, they’re more concepts that actual cars. They’re lightweight. Extremely pricey. And most of them can only hold 1 person at a time.
True solar-powered cars are still many years away from becoming commercially viable.
But – you can still power your daily commute with clean, free, and renewable energy. Your car won’t necessarily come equipped with photovoltaic panels, but it’s possible to drive on 100% pure sunshine.
Driving on Sunshine with an Electric Vehicle (EV)
Electric vehicles (EVs) are awesome. Rather than refuel these bad boys at the gas pump every other day, you simply plug it into an electrical outlet as if it were a television or computer.
The car charges overnight (or at the office), and you have plenty of power to go to work, run errands, and take brief leisurely drives.
Some models even allow longer trips of 80+ miles at a time. And the technology is only getting better.
And in a state like California, there’s no shortage of EV charging stations (here’s an interactive map).
The Environmental Cost of a “Solar-Powered” Car
Now – if you’re a regular SDG&E customer and charge your car at home, the electricity for your vehicle mostly comes from fossil fuel. The utility company burns oil, gas, and coal to send power throughout the grid.
This is cheaper than refueling at the gas station. But the environmental cost is still quite high. You’ve simply transferred the problem to another location. Instead of emitting exhaust on the highways, you’re indirectly emitting exhaust at some remote power plant.
Out of sight, out of mind. But the environmental toll hasn’t gone away completely.
However, if you have solar panels installed on your property, you can completely charge your EV using clean electricity. After all, you’re just fueling the car with sunshine.
Zero pollution while driving. Zero pollution while charging.
And because your solar PV installation pays for itself (4-6 years on average), driving on sunshine is substantially cheaper than using petrol or the local utility grid.
In fact, it’s 100% free once you’ve recouped all upfront costs.
Imagine never having to pay another dime to Exxon or SDG&E. Solar-powered cars (with PV panels) may be a thing of the future, but driving on pure sunshine is a modern-day reality.
Nearly 40% of all EV owners in California have solar installed on their properties for this very reason. They’ve taken complete control of their energy independence and now power their travel with free sunshine.
But How Much Are Solar Powered Cars to Own?
Okay. So EVs are basically free to drive once your solar panels have paid for themselves. But how much do they cost upfront?
We’ll cover that in Part 2 of How Much Are Solar Powered Cars (tomorrow). And we’ll also look at a special incentive in San Diego that makes combining your EV with solar panels an irresistible strategy.
In the meantime, if you have questions about electric vehicles or going solar, contact us for a free consultation.