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Ford and Sunpower Team Up on Solar Power System for Focus Electric Drivers

Steve Puma | Friday August 12th, 2011 | 0 Comments

As Phil Covington reports above, Ford and SunPower Corp. have teamed up to offer customers a rooftop solar system, called “Drive Green for Life” which aims to provide Ford electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle customers with enough clean, renewable energy to offset the electricity used to charge their vehicle(s). The system should cost approximately $10,000, after Federal, state and local rebates.

“Under the ‘Drive Green for Life’ program, Ford 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.”

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. 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.

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.

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. This is accomplished by effectively locking in the owners’ cost of electricity for the next 30 years. Imagine, in 1971, getting the opportunity hold your price for gasoline a $1.92 (2010 dollars)!

Ultimately, as auto manufacturers standardize on charging systems, these Sunpower systems (and others like it), will be able to charge all electric vehicles.

Ford’s overall product sustainability strategy includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and in Europe by 2013. Ford 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.

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Steve Puma is the Director of Business Development for SABA Motors, and a sustainability writer/consultant. His work focuses (mostly) on clean transportation, including Plug-In Electric Vehicles, something he is very passionate about.

Steve holds an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. You can learn more about Steve by reading his blog, or following his tweets.


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