Ford Teams Up With SunPower For Solar Powered Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Co. is partnering with solar panel manufacturer SunPower to provide US customers with specially designed solar power systems to charge Ford’s upcoming Focus Electric Vehicle (EV).
   
Under Ford’s “Drive Green For Life” program, buyers of Focus Electric EVs can choose to spend an extra $10,000 to purchase and install SunPower’s solar charging station for their homes, which Ford says generates enough renewable electricity to offset the energy used for fully recharging the EV. 
  
At a cost of $10,000 – or lower, according to Ford, once local and state solar rebates are factored in – the 2.5 kilowatt systems will produce about 3000 kilowatt hours of clean power each year. This would allow Focus owners to drive about 1,610 kilometres each month without resorting to recharging via mains grid power. An iPhone application and web-based residential monitoring system lets customers track the performance of their solar charger. 
 
“SunPower’s innovative partnership with Ford is a win-win for customers, providing a comprehensive sustainability program,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. “By taking advantage of this program, Focus Electric customers can receive the added benefit of installing a SunPower solar system … generating the electricity needed to charge their vehicles.”
  
As car and truck emissions climb and make a significant contribution to greenhouse gases, the EV’s star is on the rise, particularly in the U.S. 
 
General Motors recently installed solar charging stations on GM buildings and Chevy dealerships for its Volt EV. 
 
But when it comes to the plug-in vehicle, the rub has always been in the power source. You can’t really call it a zero-emissions technology in some cases, because every time you plug it in, you’re burning fossil fuel like it’s 1999 if that electricity is sourced from coal fired power generation or even natural gas.
 
Using a solar power source solves this problem, and as fuel costs climb steadily, $10,000 will soon be a small price to pay to “fill up” over the life of a car.
 
“It’s an eco-friendly solution that perfectly complements our plug-in products and other green initiatives,” says Mike Tinskey, Ford director of Global Vehicle Electrification.