• How much can you save with an electric car powered by solar?

    It's no mystery that electric vehicles (ev) are starting to catch on internationally.  Tesla's and BMW i3's are all over the road here in California, and the numbers support that observation.  In the first quarter of 2017, fully electric car sales were up 134% year over year, with sales of of the Tesla Model S up 225% and the BMW i3 up 111%.  This is abject to the auto industry in general, which reported sales down by 1.6% in March.
     
    The numbers indicate that more and more people are waking up to the savings that electric vehicles can produce.  By charging your fully electric vehicle at home, you can most likely, depending on your commute, drive your car the whole day on battery charge.  When you add solar panels to that mix, the savings multiply.
     
    So let's compare two situations to demonstrate how much you can save with an electric vehicle and solar:
     
    In the first situation:
    You drive a non-electric vehicle (for the sake of this example, we will say a 2016 Kia Forte) and don't have solar installed.
     
    In the second situation:
    You drive a BMW i3 electric vehicle and you have solar installed on your home.  
     
    In both situations:
    - We assume you commute 50 miles a day.
    - We assume gas costs $3.00 a gallon for regular gas.
    - We assume you live in San Diego
  • In the first situation:
    We assume your electric bill is $200 a month.
    A 2016 Kia Forte has an average MPG of 29 on the highway.
    If you drive 50 miles a day that would mean you burn around 1.72 gallons of gas a day, and spend around $5.16 a day on gas.  
    $5.16 x 365 days in a year = $1883.40 in gas spend yearly 
     
    You also pay $200 a month in electric bills a month so,
     
    $200 x 12 = $2400 a year
     
    So combine the two, 
     
    and you spend $1883.40 + $2400 = $4,283.40 on gas and electricity yearly.
     
    So now, let's explore the second situation:
     
    We're going to assume the same electric usage in your house as the first situation, but we are going to take into account the added electric expense of the electric vehicle.
    So we're going to assume you have a BMW i3.  The daily required charge to drive 50 miles is about 13.5 kWh.
    13.5kWh x 30 days = 405 kWh a month to power your car.   
    The average price per kWh in SDGE territory is 16.35¢/kWh.
    So  16.35¢ x 405kWh = 6621.75¢ or an extra $66.21 per month.
    So after the electric vehicle your electric bill is $266.21 a month.
     
    So yearly you're spending:
     
    $266.21 x 12 = $3,194 a year on gas and electricity.  
     
    So even without solar, you are saving about $1,089 a year with the electric vehicle alone.  
     
    But, if you finance a solar system and have enough solar efficiency to reach net zero, or zero out your electric bill, then your solar payment will be around the same as your electric bill per month, (in this case, as we showed, $266 a month).  While you will still be paying that monthly bill, you will be putting it towards buying your solar system instead of throwing it away that the utility and oil companies.  Once you pay off your system, you will be doing nothing but saving.  
     
    The typical solar payback period in the U.S. is between 6 and 8 years. So let's say for the sake of this example that the total installation cost was $25,000.  Since your yearly electric bill is $3,194 your payback time will be $25,000 / $3,194 or around 8 years.  After those 8 years of paying yourself, you will be doing nothing but saving.  
     
    So let's take a 30 year snapshot.  
     
    For the first 8 years, you're not necessarily saving but you're not paying any more than you originally would in the second example without solar (electric car, no solar).  But, after the 8 year mark you will be eliminating your electric and gas bills, which, as we demonstrated earlier, is around $3,194 a year.  So, after 30 years:
     
    22 (years after paying off system) x $3,194 = $70, 268 in savings over 30 years by going solar with an electric car compared to without going solar.
     
    Now let's compare that to the original example with no solar and no electric car.  
     
    We determined that with a normal car and no solar you would spend about $4,283.40 a year on gas and electricity.  Note that this doesn't even take escalating electric rate hikes into account.
     
    So that would cost you
     
    $4,283.40 x 30 years = $128,502 for 30 years of electricity and gas.
     
    Take your solar payment out of that, (which for the example, we determined was $25,000)
     
    $128,502 - $25,000 = $103, 502  
     
    We almost must take into account the difference between the Kia and the BMW the difference is around $20,000 (the i3 is more expensive)
     
    So you have to deduct that from your overall savings, which comes out to 
     
    $103,502 - $20,000 = $83,502 in savings over 30 years.  
    That's enough to pay for two or three college tuitions, two or three cars, or even a hefty addition to your savings.
     
    So it's clear that the savings are there.  The greatest thing about it is that you can make this happen for yourself without much effort or extra money.  You can go solar for zero down, such that you pay nothing up front and your monthly payment will be no more than your power bill, so you're putting that money you would put towards your bill right back into your system.  You could at the same time finance an electric car for a payment that isn't much more than a normal gas powered car, and immediately stop paying for your gas and power your car with your solar system.  After paying back your system after around 6-8 years, you will be doing nothing but saving every year, which is a legitimate investment in yourself and your home.
     
    So if you've been wondering how much you can save with a solar powered home and electric car, we hope this example can show you what kind of potential savings could be in store.  You could set yourself up for a lifetime of savings that could allow you to afford more cars, college educations, etc.  All it starts with is a phone call to your local solar company.