“Zero emissions” is a tricky phrase. Electric vehicles produce zero emissions at the tailpipe, but more often than not there are emissions at the power plant. The only way to have a truly zero-emissions EV is to get your power from a renewable source like the sun.
SolarCity is making it a whole lot easier to do that. The California company has started offering solar EV chargers to customers in 11 states and Washington, D.C., allowing people to drive their cars purely on sunshine.
“It allows for the carbon-free lifestyle. You can go EV and PV and drive on sunshine power,” Ben Tarbell, vp of products, told us. “There are a lot of environmental and economic benefits for our customers.”
The company, fresh off a $280 million investment from Google, makes it easy for people to embrace solar power by leasing them complete photovoltaic packages. It’s been dabbling in solar chargers for awhile, and it installed solar EV charging stations along highway 101 between Los Angeles and San Francisco in 2009.
“There are a significant number of mainstream electric vehicles available, and our customers are asking for this,” he said. “The market is catching up. We’re seeing an uptick in demand for this.”
The Level 2 (240 volt) ClipperCreek charger costs $1,500 installed. The photovoltaic cells needed to keep the juice flowing will set you back $50 a month. By SolarCity’s math, the average urban driver spends about $230 a month on gasoline (at an average of $3.65 a gallon). Plugging into the grid cuts that to $107 a month, and a SolarCity rig brings it to $54.
Of course, SolarCity is happy to set you up with solar power for the entire house. The cost varies with your energy needs, but a typical home in the San Francisco Bay Area will pay $60 to $200 a month for a 20-year lease, the company says.
The solar chargers are available now in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington D.C.
To learn more about Brammo, please visit www.brammo.com