Running an electric car on the power of the sun is many an EV enthusiast's dream. Ford isn't the first company to combine EV charging with solar energy, but it is trying to make it as easy as possible to go from driving on imported oil to extremely local energy.

Through a new partnership with SunPower, Ford will offer a 2.5-kilowatt rooftop solar system to people who buy the upcoming Ford Focus Electric (and, later, the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid) that should, under the right conditions, create around 3,000 kWh of electricity a year. Put one of these on your house and, Ford says, that's enough to drive 1,000 miles a month. But, you say, I like to drive during the day and so then how will my car charge? As solar advocates know, the idea here is to offset the (potentially) coal-generated electricity your car charges with at night by feeding totally clean energy into the grid during the day. Until solar panels and EVs become so efficient that cartop solar devices can power the car, this type of setup is about as clean as you can get with a "normal" car. Ford's even calling the new partnership "Drive Green for Life," which is not inappropriate. The only problem? Adding the SunPower "option" to your Focus will cost you around $10,000 (after federal tax credits).

Toyota has also worked with SunPower in the past, putting the largest single-roof solar installation in North America onto the company's North America Parts Center California.
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Here Comes the Sun: Ford and SunPower Team up to Let Focus Electric Customers 'Drive Green for Life'

Ford and SunPower team up to provide a high-efficiency rooftop solar system that will provide Focus Electric owners enough renewable energy production to offset the energy used for charging.

Ford and SunPower team up to provide a high-efficiency rooftop solar system that will provide Focus Electric owners enough renewable energy production to offset the energy used for charging.
The 2.5 kilowatt SunPower system will produce an estimated 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. SunPower systems are backed by a 25-year warranty.
Ford's aggressive electrification strategy includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. The new Focus Electric is a zero-emissions, gasoline-free version of Ford's popular global Focus model.

Dearborn, Mich., Aug. 10, 2011 – Ford and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) have teamed up to offer customers a rooftop solar system that will allow Focus Electric owners to "Drive Green for Life" by providing customers with enough clean, renewable energy to offset the electricity used to charge the vehicle.

"Under the 'Drive Green for Life' program, Focus Electric owners can reduce their total cost of ownership by generating enough energy from their high efficiency SunPower rooftop solar system to offset the electricity required to charge the vehicle at night," said Mike Tinskey, Ford director of Global Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure. "It's an eco-friendly solution that perfectly complements our plug-in products and other green initiatives."

"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, the highest-efficiency, most reliable on the market today, generating the electricity needed to charge their vehicles."

The 2.5 kilowatt rooftop solar system is comprised of the SunPower® E18 Series solar panels that produce an average of 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. These high-efficiency solar panels generate approximately 50 percent more electricity than conventional panels and utilize a smaller footprint on the roof. The system was sized to accommodate a customer who drives about 1,000 miles per month.

The complete SunPower solar system is offered at a base price of less than $10,000*, after federal tax credits. Local and state rebates, along with other incentives, may drive the system cost down even more, depending on a customer's location. Included in the purchase is a residential monitoring system, which includes the ability to track the performance of their solar system on the web or through an iPhone application. Affordable financing options for the solar system are available through SunPower. This price point does not include local sales tax.

Interested Focus Electric customers will be contacted by a participating SunPower dealer who will visit their home to begin the installation process. SunPower leads the industry with more than 400 dealers in the U.S., and can support the initial Focus Electric roll out in all 19 markets.

In addition to the Focus Electric, the SunPower rooftop solar system will be compatible with the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid electric vehicle Ford is rolling out in 2012.

Two Complementary Charging Solutions for Focus Electric Owners
By partnering with SunPower, Ford now offers Focus Electric owners two complementary charging solutions to make the overall experience of owning an electric vehicle easier. In January, Ford announced an agreement with consumer electronics leader Best Buy to offer a 240-volt home charging station for the Focus Electric and future electric vehicle owners.

"The goal of working with both SunPower and Best Buy was to offer Focus Electric owners solutions to charging needs that help lower the vehicle's overall cost of ownership," said Tinskey.

The Power of Choice
Electrification is an important piece of Ford's overall product sustainability strategy, which includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and in Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010 and will launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year. In 2012, these models will be joined in North America by the new C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid. This diverse range of electrified vehicles allows Ford to meet a variety of consumer driving needs.

*This offer assumes normal installation conditions, not including modifications to a roof, electrical service panel or excessive wire requirements.

# # #

About Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 166,000 employees and about 70 plants worldwide, the company's automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford's products, please visit www.ford.com.

About SunPower
SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company's quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpowercorp.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 43 Comments
      Apex
      • 3 Years Ago
      Are you selling power back to the grid, or storing it in a battery system?. In Ontario, CAN, there is a program that allows you to sell back to the grid at much higher rates than what you buy for residential. It is a 20 yr contract, and payback for investment is 10 yrs. This would be good if you had a battery storage that the solar would feed directly into and you can pull from to charge the car at night. Truly I like Honda's home CNG project better where you fill up Natural Gas at home with a converter to make it Compressed. NG is still pretty cheap, and readily available.
        KC
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Apex
        But is natural gas renewable?
          Apex
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KC
          Truthfully I don't care. NG is clean and that should be enough.
          Basil Exposition
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KC
          @Apex You should care. Natural gas may be (relatively) clean burning, but it's extraction is anything but environmentally friendly. Do some reading on hydraulic fracturing and you'll see Natural Gas is not really a clean energy source.
      Polly Prissy Pants
      • 3 Years Ago
      Burning excessive oil/gasoline is no doubt a national security issue so it's cool that this option is available although it's too bad the expense will put it out of reach for most people.
      Dean Hammond
      • 3 Years Ago
      Personally spending that much I would step up and get a system that would generate more to offset more than just the car usage....seems awfully exorbident for a mere 1000 miles a month....
        DrEvil
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Dean Hammond
        Ahhhh Mr. Hammond so you thought. I recently had one of the companies (SunPower) that do the installation in NJ come in for an evaluation/estimate. Here are my conclusions. 1). This country is NOT serious about alternative energy. If they were, they would not limit the size of a system to the amount of energy that one consumes. It is ILLEGAL to set up a system capable of generating more energy than what the known consumption of said property is. Cost of installation for a 6.9 kw system: $46,483.50 Federal Tax credit = 30% or $13,945.05 Now, here is where it gets tricky. PSE&G would give me a solar Loan of $21,358.00 and I would have to come up with an additional $11,180.45. If I took the PSE&G loan, it wipes out the Solar Renewable Energy Credit of $6,009.85. I priced the materials, since I could build this myself. it would cost me about 20K. But is not really worth the expense / headache if I am just going to break even, since they wouldn't let me turn a profit. There, I thought this was about reducing our dependency on petroleum, but it's not.
          graphikzking
          • 3 Years Ago
          @DrEvil
          You do have a hell of an SREC market though. You could easily turn a profit selling those on the open market. Who knows where that will go in the next few years though. Hopefully it holds somewhat steady. If you generate enough for your own needs you can easily generate another 8-10 srec's a year which would make you about $2500 per year "profit".
      Car Guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Adding the SunPower "option" to your Focus will cost you around $10,000 (after federal tax credits)." So what's the real cost? $15,000? $20,000? Why does being green always have to be on the taxpayers dime? If you are passionate about it -- you pay for it. ALL of it.
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        Why do oil companies - some of the most profitable companies on the planet - still receive BILLIONS of dollars worth of Corporate Welfare in the form of subsidies and write-offs??
          NissanGTR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          Do you want a massive mark up on all food and possessions? Because that will happen if you keep thinking like that.
          NissanGTR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          Amazing how an ignorant post like graphs is liked, but my post that is absent of ignorance is hated? 9/11 is an inside job and an excuse to fight over in the middle east. Even though our country is in no shape for war financially.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        [blocked]
        ttownscott
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        No kidding. I feel the same way about the home mortgage interest tax deduction. If you want the house and have a mortgage pay all the interest yourself. Too many subsidies. In the case of the cost of solar power early adopters will drive the cost down over time.
      stclair5211
      • 3 Years Ago
      Pay for solar panels and batteries or pay for gas and gas is cheaper in the end. There is no advantage right now to going green. It always costs more in the end with higher upfront costs and maintenance. The return on investment is simply not there in the real world, it only exists on paper where nothing goes wrong. All this is about is selling solar panels and fords. I suppose we created a job or two. Yippy. The planet is fine. Global warming is caused by the sun. CERN proved that. The debate is over.
      Krishan Mistry
      • 3 Years Ago
      Too bad you will almost NEVER recuperate the cost, but it would be cool to get that solar panel system third hand. First homeowner buys system at a loss, never fully gets his money back, sells house to owner 2, who forgets about the solar panel. Sells to you without including the cost of the solar panel they don't know about, and then you get a free $10000 solar panel. ???? Profit!
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Krishan Mistry
        Never? How about 5 years worth of gasoline if you drove the average 12k miles and gas continues to cost about $4/gallon. Add that up and that equals about $10000 worth of gas spent over the course of 5 years, so you most definitely will be recuperating that amount and in less time than expected.
          Ducman69
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          That is false logic. You would have to include the price of the electric car in that scenario, of which many inexpensive vehicles now get 40mpg such as the Ford Focus, and even with the electric car you would have to compare the cost of the panel and its installation and maintenance over cost of just using cheap electricity off of the grid. I currently pay 9 cents a kWh.
      lazy penguin
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Ford isn't the first company to combine EV charging with solar energy, but it is trying to make it as easy as possible to go from driving on imported oil to extremely local energy." The sun is about 149,597,900 km away, so wouldn't that make it extremely foreign energy?
      Hazdaz
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have to give credit to Ford to offering this and making it easy for folks to get as much off the grid and off oil as realistically possible. This is also a fantastic way to respond to the typical nay-sayers that wrongly claim that EVs are worse for the environment because some of our electricity is produced by coal-fired powerplants. Also, no one is going to dispute that $10k is a big chunk of change, but the reality is that when you compare it to some other rather expensive options for cars, what these panels offer versus what they can let you do, they aren't obnoxiously expensive. For instance, Ceramic Composite brakes for certain high-end sportscars can easily cost as much as these solar panels. Some of the higher-end options on luxury cars can easily tack on well over $10k to the price of a car - check off navigation/infotainment and upgraded leather trimmings and you're there.
        pinyatapbjtime
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        sure, a $10k option is a little bit of change on a $200k car. but $10k on a $20k car is a whole different story.
        Mark_H
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Hazdaz
        It is interesting to see how people hold the ROI on a hybrid powertrain or, now, solar panels, to a higher standard than the leather seats they just had to have, or navigation system, or giant rims, or DVD system, or all of the above. People buy "green" items, in part, because they find them satisfying. Which is the same reason people add on the leather seats, etc, to their cars.
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mark_H
          so, can you finance the 10k on the car loan at 2.9% APR?.....thats the difference between adding a sunroof ( approx $900 ) Leather ( approx $900 ) in headrest DVDs ( factory $1800 ) BLING wheels and Tires ( ugh...but $2k for a nice set, $k upwards for Pimp Daddys )......I still think 10k is steep even after subsidies....
          miles
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mark_H
          I completely agree Mark, but the other 90% of creation will also hop on-board when these things really start saving money. This is pretty cool, but you need that extra 'value' of satisfaction which justifies paying more but being greener. I'm too broke to pay for that satisfaction, but I eagerly await the day it can save me money.
          graphikzking
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Mark_H
          here's a way to look at it: Solar panel cost from Ford is $10k right? Lets say the focus gets 34mpg mixed driving at $4 /gallon gas.(both reasonable expectations) That means you'll spend $1411 per year in gas. That's 7 years worth of gas your basically prepaying for at TODAY'S PRICING. So they say "Buy 7 years worth of fuel now, and we will not only guarantee today's pricing for the next 7 years, but for the next 10 years with a warranty(inverter is warranted for 10 yrs) You should have no problem generating enough "fuel" for the next 20 years though. After the 20 years, the wiring is already in place and it will be much cheaper to upgrade your panels and get even more efficiently. Plus these panels will protect your current shingles from wear and tear because the sun/snow and rain will not be hitting it.
      peteMT
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nothing wrong with this! Assuming net metering, during the day you could potentially zero out your home's electrical consumption, as well as power the car. You're just paying upfront for the panel system rather than spreading it out year after year. If you kept the car for ten years... would be a good system. Or of you kept driving electric. Remember, the batteries and efficiency are only going to improve. You might be able to power two cars in another 5 years or product cycle.
      TruthHertz
      • 3 Years Ago
      So first I have to pay almost double for the car itself unless I get a tax payer funded credit, and then I have to pay $10,000 for a solar panel after yet another tax credit. So what are the real costs on these things? Because I don't think Chevy would sell too many Volts at $50,000 a pop or these panels at possibly $20,000 without any of my tax dollars getting filtered to somebody that is apparently well off enough to begin with. I'm all for being responsible and such, but you have to wonder what people are thinking sometimes.
      NissanGTR
      • 3 Years Ago
      That is nearly 140k miles worth of gasoline for my motorcycle @ $4 a gallon.
      Andre Neves
      • 3 Years Ago
      The problem with solar energy is that hardware is still extremely expensive to install in one's home. If that weren't the case, the world would be a much better place as our dependance on oil would be much lower. Oil = Evil.
        Hazdaz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Andre Neves
        $10,000 is about 5 years worth of gasoline for the average person (figuring 12k miles a year, 25 MPG and $4/gallon gas). So yeah, $10k is a lot of money, but solar panels are known to have extremely long lifespans and this could pay for itself in only about 5 years, after which, you would be driving essentially for free.
          Dean Hammond
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Hazdaz
          realize also HAZDAZ this is for a full elctric car with limited range. BUT Ford is releaseing an extended range Hybrid that ALSO has plug in capacity along w the ICU...now that is more up my alley than a pure electric....
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