Drive Electric, Drive on Sunshine & Save Money

rivian electric car charging

An all electric Rivian pick up spotted outside a local cafe in Brunswick, Maine

The auto industry is going electric, with nearly every automaker announcing launches or plans of electric battery powered, plug-in cars. Manufacturers that have been electric from the start, such as Tesla and Rivian, are innovating the world of electric vehicles and EV charging, and finding driving options are easier than ever before. Plus, thanks to several state and federal incentives and programs, the transition to electric is becoming increasingly affordable across New England.

We can finally sever ties to dirty, finite fossil fuels and get where we need to go with clean power from the sun. Switching to an electric vehicle offers a plethora of financial and environmental benefits, especially when you pair your EV with solar powered EV charging infrastructure.

Power your car with solar! Just 8 solar panels provide roughly enough electricity to power 12,000 miles of electric driving each year at a low, fixed cost. ReVision offers different charging options based on your driving and home needs. You can wake up to a full charge everyday; Level Two charging stations can deliver full vehicle battery charge in 4 to 8 hours, depending on the battery size and the on-board charge rate of your car. Read on to learn about the advantages of EVs and solar powered EV charging!

Electric vehicles offer a unique trifecta of benefits:

Plugging in the Chevy Bolt into our office electric vehicle charger

Chevy’s all-electric Bolt is roomy, reliable, and goes 0-60 in 6.3 seconds!

  • Lower your carbon footprint: Transportation is the single largest contributor of greenhouse gases in the US. Driving electric not only lessens your dependency on dirty fossil fuels, but since EVs get cleaner the longer you drive them, going electric helps the overall grid wean itself off coal and gas
  • Save money: EVs cost less to operate and maintain, and are on average more affordable to drive when you compare the average cost of gas to the average cost of electric charging.  In New England, an eGallon (the cost of charging an EV compared to its gas-powered counterpart) is significantly lower than a regular gallon of gasoline. This becomes even more affordable when you charge your EV with solar power!
  • Gain energy independence: Get where you need to go with power from the sun, generated locally, and stop sending money to dirty, polluting oil companies.

What is Driving on Sunshine All About?

When you pair solar power with EVs, you break the connection between driving and carbon pollution created by utilities to produce electricity, and you step toward energy independence. This holistic approach sees PV charging and EVs as two parts of a whole. By budgeting a PV system as part of an EV’s cost, you create a valuable charging package that gives you a better return on investment, and produces free energy for your car and home for years to come.

Watch our quick animation to learn about the benefits of pairing your EV with solar powered charging

Pair you EV with solar powered charging to Drive on Sunshine!

Most all-electric vehicles on the market are capable of over 100 MPGe, and with the average eGallon price of $1.72 in Northern New England, and as low as $1.50 in Maine, it’s easy to visualize significant savings. (Source DOE)

But what about the solar gallon? It’s like the eGallon, but thanks to solar power it emits no carbon, has no significant hidden environmental costs, and leaves a much lighter footprint on society at large. A solar gallon also happens to cost 71 cents.¹

The solar gallon is a slightly conservative estimate based upon average efficiencies of both motor vehicles and EVs, factored with the levelized cost of a typical residential solar array that provides charging – so it’s exciting to mention that it might be cheaper than 71 cents in your case.

The best part? The solar gallon is locked in over the lifetime of your solar array! With an EV, your cost savings on gas accelerates the payback of your solar investment, and after the array is paid for in fuel savings, you will essentially receive free power for the life of the system. A fixed rate of $0.71 per eGallon is evidence of the unbeatable synergy of solar and EVs.

Solar Powered EVs: The Clean Future of Transportation

With electricity, we now have a choice as to how to power our cars. Using electricity produced within the United States for our transportation needs is a big leap away from reliance upon foreign oil, and when we use locally generated solar electricity to power vehicles – drastically reducing the greenhouse gases involved before – we leap to where we really ought to be.

Driving on sunshine is the fullest realization of EVs on the road. By unifying EVs and solar, we create enormous savings, greatly reduce environmental harm, and strengthen America’s energy independence – that, is the world’s first truly reliable car.

Why we loving driving sun powered electric Vehicles

One of ReVision’s own, who has a Tesla Model 3 and Clipper Creek Level Two charging station, tells his story:

Erik with his Tesla Model 3 and Clipper Creek Level Two charging station at his home

Driving electric has been an awesome experience and I have zero regrets in making the switch. I was honestly a bit hesitant at first because it was such a foreign concept to me, but it has made driving fun again and my commute to work is one of the best parts of my day. Merging onto the highway on an on ramp and blasting out of a toll booth with rapid acceleration are especially fun, it never gets old! I put a Clipper Creek Level Two charging station in my garage which gets me about 25 miles of range per hour of charge, so fully recharging overnight is easy. I can also charge at work at one of the multiple Level Two Charging Stations there.

Maintenance? Well, in the 2 years that I’ve owned the Tesla Model 3, I’ve rotated the tires once and refilled the windshield washer fluid 3 times. Oil changes and noisy mufflers are a thing of the past for me. Warming the vehicle up inside the garage in the wintertime without filling the entire garage with Carbon Monoxide is pretty nice too.

Cleaning up New England’s transportation sector is critical in the fight to lower our region’s CO2 emissions. Driving an electric vehicle that is oftentimes charged by the solar array at my home or at work gives me entertaining, guilt free driving and I can’t recommend it enough!
– Erik Mitchell, Portland, ME

Another ReVision champion in his twenties had this to say about his experience driving a Bolt:

Dylan with his solar-powered 2017 Chevy Bolt.

Two years and 43,000 miles into owning a Chevrolet Bolt, I have paid $50 to charge at a couple of DC fast chargers.

After weekends full of events and staying with friends, while driving from Portland to Boston, to the White Mountains, I have taken breaks from driving and fully charged while eating lunch. How have I gotten away with zero tailpipe emissions and near zero fuel cost? Home rooftop solar, and visiting businesses that provide complimentary charging.

At home, I wake up with 240 miles in my “tank” every day, so I really only need to charge once or twice a week. I am no longer going out of my way to search for a gas station to stand in the cold, sideways rain or snow, fiddling with a credit card at a sticky gasoline pump. Chargers are conveniently located at my destinations — I just check PlugShare!

When in cities, garages that offer charging get my business. When at ski slopes, I can even preheat my car from the chair lift on the last run, while it’s still plugged in, so it’s fully charged and warm when I’m ready to leave.
– Dylan Lucas, Bow, NH

Which EV should I drive?

One of ReVision’s Chevy Bolts parked alongside a Tesla Model S making use of the Level Two charging that we offer at all of our branches, free of charge (ha!) to the public.

March of 2018 marked the 30th month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains. By the end of 2018, US EV sales were up 74%, thanks in large part to Tesla’s Model 3, and global sales were up 64% — 2.1 million EVs were sold in all.

Major automakers like Volvo and GM have recently declared the future to be all-electric. There are many all-electric cars already available in the US, as well as hybrid EVs. Battery ranges have increased, model types have diversified, and costs have come down. So what’s out there?

Perhaps everyone has heard of Tesla by now. They continue to push the market ahead, and the Model 3 has brought their great battery range and design closer to the reach of an average American income, but the top contender for best American EV might just be from one of the oldest gas-powered vehicle makers: Chevrolet. The Chevy Bolt was the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year, as it is a powerful combination of quality, efficiency, and value.

Another strong all-electric option is the Nissan Leaf, or there are many plug-in hybrids like the Chrysler Pacifica, Toyota Prius Prime or Kia Niro. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) offer gasoline power as a backup to battery range. The average American commute is usually short enough for a PHEV to drive on electricity most of the time, however, there is still an engine that needs to be maintained. In contrast, all-electric EVs are free from many maintenance needs we have become accustomed to with car care.

So how do I drive an EV with solar power?

If you want to drive an electric vehicle, you’re going to need an electric vehicle charging point at home, either mounted in the garage or on the driveway.

The FLO Home Level Two charger is encased in rugged NEMA 4X aluminum.

Image of a Clipper Creek Electric Vehicle Charging Station

The Clipper Creek HCS-40 offers great value in electric vehicle charging. A fully installed Level Two charging station costs around $2,000, a bit less when bundled with one of our solar PV installs.

To charge your electric vehicle with solar, you need two components: a solar electric system and a Level Two electric vehicle charging station. ReVision Energy can install both for you. A wall-mounted Level Two charger can deliver about 25 miles of range per hour of charging, allowing you to wake up every morning to a fully charged vehicle. Level II charging is much faster than, and highly preferable to Level I plug-in outlet charging which typically delivers 4-5 miles per hour of charging. A 2017 Chevy Bolt, for example, takes only 8.5 hours (overnight) to recover its 238-mile range with a Level Two charger, and over 36 hours with a Level Two charger.

A grid-tied solar electric system is the best way to put solar to work for your electric car. A grid-tied system will produce power whenever the sun is out, regardless of whether your house needs it that moment or not. So, if you are at work (and charging there!), the power generated at your home will be sold to the grid. You get that power back in the form of a credit, which you can use at night while re-charging your EV.

Don’t forget to check our Northern New England EV Charging Incentives Guide for charging equipment deals in your area. And if you’re ready to get started on your solar + EV journey, contact our talented solar advisors for information on how to combine an electric vehicle and sunshine for carbon-free driving.

The History and Future of Solar Powered EVs

If you’re interested in some additional reading, we encourage you to check out our 3 part blog series that takes you through the surprisingly detailed history of EVs, and all the way through modern-day nuts and bolts information:

Part 1 – On the Road Again: The Return of the Electric Vehicle

Part 2 – The Ins and Outs of EV Charging

Part 3 – Solar + EV: Drive on Sunshine, Save Big Bucks

 

¹A grid-based eGallon, used by the US Department of Energy to compare the cost of electricity to gasoline, is currently calculated at $1.11, compared to the average US gas price of $2.65 per gallon, significant savings by any measure. However, a solar gallon costs 71 cents, based upon the levelized cost over the twenty-five-year warranty of a typical residential solar array (6 kW). Go to https://www.energy.gov/maps/egallon for an up to date comparison of gasoline to eGallons.