There has been a lot of talk about Electric Vehicles (EVs) lately with the likes of the Tesla model 3 running off the manufacturing line and virtually every major car manufacturing offering more and more competitively priced EV models.
The ability to charge up those vehicles with the sun is compelling and a great use of solar photovoltaic panels, but how many panels does it take to fuel these new EVs?
There’s lots of theoretical math we could do, but one of our customers from Vernon BC recently purchased a Nissan Leaf and has shared with us some of his data and experience on exactly this topic. He has consumed 1472 kWh to drive 10,013 km in and around the Okanagan. According to BCAA, the average Canadian drives 20,000 km per year which would equate to 2940 kWh of charge. His solar system in the last year (here in Vernon, BC) generated 1.150 kWh per watt of installed solar. With some simple math and using this real data, that means you would need nine 285W solar modules to cover your fuel costs for 25 to 30 years! Most reputable solar panels come with a 25 year performance warranty and are expected to last well beyond that. A system of this size would only cost around $8500, fully installed.
According to BCAA’s driving cost estimator (http://caa.ca/car_costs/), an efficient internal combustion engine vehicle would run just under $2000 a year in fuel costs alone. Over 25 years, and assuming no increase in the price of gas, that is $50,000 in fuel costs and around 88,040 kg of greenhouse gases emitted into the Okanagan skies!!!
“Solar Powering” your EV and driving past all those gas stations seems to make for one very clean and happy wallet.