I am extremely excited about a planned press conference tomorrow (8/10/11) between Ford and Sunpower.
As frequent readers may know, I have powered my Mini-E with Sunpower solar panels installed by Stellar Solar for the past two years and 32,000 miles. I have written at length about the low cost of driving on solar with my real world conclusions that it is about 10% to15% the cost of gasoline and offers an ROI in excess of 30%.
Essentially, Powering my Mini-E or any electric car for that matter, with Solar PV cost the same as buying three to four years of gasoline. After that, you’re driving on free endless sunshine for over 20 years, and that’s just the guaranteed energy production from the panels. In most cases with quality panels like Sunpower, you will be driving on free sunshine for the rest of your life.
So why I am I so excited? My hope and my prediction is that this will be a partnership between two international market leaders that will bring great benefit to consumers and to our environment. How so? The same way car makers and oil companies have had a mutually beneficial relationship for 100 years,.
I am hopeful that what will be announced tomorrow is a cooperative purchase experience for a retail customer of a Ford electric car. That a person will be able to buy a Ford Focus Electric, Transit Connect Electric or a C-Max Energi plug in and purchase a Sunpower system at the same time financed by either Ford or Sunpower to fuel their car with clean renewable energy forever. A true zero emissions combination.
The synergies in financing both the car and the Sunpower system are great as most buyers are financing their car purchase for three to six years, and to add on a solar PV system to the same three to six year loan results in a total customer cost that will be similar or in fact lower from day one, to a comparable gas model plus the $250 a month for gas (assuming an average of 15,000 a year.) The relationship to the size and cost of the Sunpower system, and the miles that you drive is proportional to the cost of gas in most cases except extremely low mile drivers.
Most are familiar with Solar PV replacing grid energy for a home that has an ROI of 10%, or a payoff time of between 8 and 14 years, however when you use solar PV replacing gasoline, the ROI grows to over 30% with a payoff of three to four years.
Can you imagine a future that allows you to purchase a zero emission car and the renewable energy to power your driving for a lifetime all in one stop shopping? No pollution, no dependency on foreign oil, wealth creation for individuals and corporations and personal independence?
That is the future I imagine, and that is the future that will change our world.
Let’s hope the future begins tomorrow with Ford and Sunpower.
Mini-E # 183, 32,000 sunshine powered miles with Sunpower PV