Drive on Sunshine and Save Money

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!

The return of the electric vehicle ushers in a new era of transportation, where we can finally sever ties to dirty, finite fossil fuels and get where we need to go with clean power from the sun.

  • Just 9 solar panels provide roughly enough electricity to power 12,000 miles of electric driving each year at a low, fixed cost.
  • Level II charging stations can deliver full vehicle battery charge in 4 to 8 hours depending on battery size – so you’ll wake up to full charge.

Electric vehicles offer a unique trifecta of benefits:

  • Lower carbon footprint: Transportation is one of the largest contributors of greenhouse gases in the US.
  • Save money: EVs cost less to operate, and maintain. Power your car with solar and drive for the equivalent of $.71/gallon¹, while accelerating the payback on your solar array by 26%. Plus, thanks to several state and federal incentives and programs, making the transition to electric is more affordable than ever.
  • Energy independence: Get where you need to go with power from the sun, generated locally, and stop sending money to oil companies.

What is Driving on Sunshine All About?

A Tale of Two Chevys

The plug-in hybrid Chevrolet Volt entered the scene in 2010, merging plug-in electric technology with a gas-powered engine. Though its production was discontinued at the end of 2018, there are many Volts on the road today — driving all-electric much of the time! The all-electric Chevy Bolt is the next step of GM’s reemergence into the EV market, and has proven itself worthy.

One of ReVision’s own, who has a Tesla Model 3 and Clipper Creek Level 2 charging station, tells his story:

Erik with his Tesla Model 3 and Clipper Creek Level 2 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 2 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 2 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

Are EVs as safe as other cars?

Electric vehicles are actually often safer than other cars. While battery technologies certainly introduced new safety issues that needed to be considered carefully, modern electric vehicles are inherently safer than many newer combustion engine vehicles, as well as older combustion engine vehicles that don’t include the latest safety innovations.

Crash-test dummies prefer EVs due to large, frontal crash-protection crumple zones (no engine block), “double bumpers” (a Tesla feature), low centers of gravity (lithium battery placement), and, of course, the lack of a tank of flammable fluid (adiós gasoline).

Which EV should I drive?

One of ReVision’s Chevy Bolts parked alongside a Tesla Model S making use of the Level 2 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 2 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 II 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 II electric vehicle charging station. ReVision Energy can install both for you. A wall-mounted Level II 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 II charger, and over 36 hours with a Level I 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!

Also, you can read our blog series that takes you through the surprisingly long 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

Ready to get started? Contact us for information on how to combine an electric vehicle and sunshine for carbon-free driving.

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 for an up to date comparison of gasoline to eGallons.