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Charging Your EV With Solar Panels and Using the EV Tax Credit To Lower the…

Charging Your EV With Solar Panels and Using the EV Tax Credit To Lower the…

    Charging Your EV With Solar Panels and Using the EV Tax Credit To Lower the Cost

    Ditching your gas-guzzler for an electric vehicle (EV) is a great way to lower the cost and emissions of getting from A to B. But charging an EV with solar panels is a next-level life hack for saving money, bypassing public charging, and all but eliminating your carbon footprint.

    And with the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 creating substantial incentives for EVs, solar, and battery, there’s never been a better time to set up a solar powered charging station right in your own home.

    Whether you already have an EV, solar panels, or neither, we’ll discuss your options for charging an EV with solar panels.

    What are the benefits of charging your EV with solar panels?

    Around 80% of EV owners have a charging station in their own home. There are three main benefits to pairing that EV charger with solar panels:

    Let’s start with how much money you can save by charging your EV with solar panels.

    Home solar is the cheapest way to power a car

    Historically, drivers have been at the mercy of gas and could only control how much they drive and, to some extent, how fuel efficient their vehicle is. But that’s no longer the case. By going solar, they can control the cost of the fuel itself.

    According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average driver puts on 13,476 miles per year, or nearly 37 miles per day. By charging an EV with solar panels, a Tesla Model 3 driver getting 3.33 miles per kWh would spend 1,500 less per year compared to filling a gas car that gets 30 miles per gallon at around 4 per gallon.

    Charging an EV with solar is also cheaper than charging with grid energy or public EV chargers.

    Here’s how much it costs to charge the most popular EV (Tesla Model 3) on solar, grid, and public chargers versus fueling a comparable 30 miles per gallon combustion car.

    Cost of charging an EV with solar vs other fueling methods

    Charging method Model 3 on home solar Model 3 on grid energy Model 3 on public charger 30 mpg combustion car
    Miles per unit of fuel 3.33 miles per kWh 3.33 miles per kWh 3.33 miles per kWh 30 miles per gallon
    Distance per year 13,476 miles 13,476 miles 13,476 miles 13,476 miles
    Fuel per year 4,047 kWh 4,047 kWh 4,047 kWh 450 gallons
    Cost of fuel per unit 0.08 per kWh 0.166 per kWh 0.40 per kWh 3.96 per gallon
    Total fuel cost per year 323.75 671.77 1,618.40 1,777.04

    Let’s break this down a little further. Charging an EV with solar is:

    • 51% cheaper than charging on grid power
    • 80% cheaper than charging on public chargers
    • 81% cheaper than filling up a 30 mpg car at 4 per gallon

    Keep in mind, these figures will vary by the model of car, distance traveled, and the cost of fuel and any given time.

    In fact, the price of home solar energy is the only constant. Once you purchase and install solar through solar.com, your EV charging costs are fixed at around 6 to 8 cents per kWH for the life of the system.

    That’s not true for grid energy or gas. Since 1990, grid energy has increased by an average of 1.98% annually, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). And over the last 87 years, the price per gallon of gas has increased on average 3.89% annually.

    Here’s how that looks over the 25 year life of a home solar system:

    Over 25 years, the average driver charging an EV with solar panels will save:

    • Over 14,000 by charging an EV with home solar compared to grid energy
    • Nearly 70,000 compared to fueling a gas car that gets 30 miles per gallon

    In an era dominated by inflation, home solar is the best hedge against rising energy and EV charging costs.

    Home solar is the cleanest way to charge an EV

    Not only does home solar fix your EV charging costs at an ultra-low rate, it all but eliminates your driving emissions.

    The classic argument against electric vehicle charging is that we can’t control where the energy comes from, and that’s true. If your local grid or public charging stations are powered by fossil fuels, then so is your EV.

    For reference, the US Energy Information Administration estimates that renewables will generate 24% of electricity in the US in 2023. The good news is that your EV is capable of running on clean energy, and will do so increasingly as renewables continue to increase their share of production.

    But the same can’t be said for cars with internal combustion engines, aka ICE vehicles. A tiger can’t change its stripes, and no matter how fuel efficient, ICE vehicles will always cough out greenhouse gas emissions that pollute local air and contribute to climate change.

    charging, your, solar, panels, using

    For now, charging with home solar is the only surefire way to charge your EV on clean energy and eliminate your vehicle emissions.

    Charging your EV at home is convenient

    Next to cost (which the Inflation Reduction Act will help with), one of the biggest barriers to EV ownership is range anxiety. In other words, people are worried that charging stations are too few and far between.

    Well, how does having a solar power charging station right in your own home sound?

    Imagine waking up every morning to a fully-fueled vehicle and never having to wait in line at a public charging or smelly gas station. Pretty sweet set-up, right? Now imagine paying the lowest-possible price to charge your EV by pairing it with solar.

    All things considered, charging an EV with solar is cheap, clean, and convenient. Now let’s look at how to create this match made in renewable-energy heaven.

    Tax credits for buying an EV

    President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law on August 16 which includes the Clean Vehicle Credit for new and used EVs and qualifying plug-in hybrids.

    Americans can get a 7,500 tax credit for buying a new EV or a 4,000 tax credit for buying a used EV (up to 30% of the price).

    Clean Vehicle Credit incentives

    New EV Used EV
    Maximum incentive 7,500 4,000 (up to 30% of purchase price)

    Better yet, the tax credit can be transferred to the dealer at the point of sale. That means instead of waiting to use the credit when you file your taxes, you can use the tax credit to reduce the purchase price of the EV.

    The Clean Vehicle credit will be in effect for 10 years beginning on January 1, 2023, but there is a kicker: Not all EVs and buyers qualify, consult a tax professional with questions about the Clean Vehicle tax credit.

    Let’s look at some of the qualification requirements.

    Used vehicle eligibility

    Used EVs must be sold by a dealer (no back-alley Craigslist deals) and the credit only applies to the first time it is resold, based on its VIN number.

    Income limits

    The Clean Vehicle credit is designed to help make EVs accessible to a larger population of Americans – not necessarily to help buyers that can already afford them. So the IRA includes income limits to qualify for the tax credit.

    The maximum income to qualify for the 7,500 new EV credit is 150,000 per year, or 300,000 for joint filers.

    In order to qualify for the 4,000 used EV tax credit, the maximum income is 75,000 per year or 150,000 for joint filers.

    Price limits

    In addition to income limits, there are price limits on the vehicles that qualify for the Clean Vehicle credit based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP).

    The Clean Vehicle Credit price limits are:

    Again, the point is to help everyday Americans trade in their gas-guzzlers for EVs, not reward hedge fund managers for pre-ordering Electric Hummers.

    Manufacturing requirements

    Finally, there are manufacturing requirements designed to encourage local sourcing, manufacturing, and recycling, mostly for battery components.

    First, effective immediately, the IRA requires final assembly for eligible EVs to take place in North America.

    Then, beginning January 1, 2023, eligible EVs must have 50% of battery components made or assembled in North America. This requirement steps up each year until reaching 100% in 2029.

    The IRA also requires that a certain percentage of battery minerals come from free trade partners or are recycled in North America. The threshold starts at 40% in 2023 and gradually increases to 80% by 2027.

    These requirements will do two things:

    • Limit the number of EVs that qualify for the Clean Vehicle credit
    • Super-charge local EV and battery manufacturing, recycling, and technology

    Which EVs qualify for the Clean Vehicle credit?

    In March 2023, the US Treasury Department released guidance for the EV tax credit, giving us a good idea of which vehicles will be eligible in 2023.

    Based on this guidance, the Department of Energy released a list of eligible vehicles on fueleconomy.gov.

    New EV credit eligible vehicles 2023

    Make Model Year Credit amount
    Audi Q5 TFSI e Quattro (PHEV) 2023 7,500
    BMW 330e 2021-2023 5,836
    X5 xDrive45e 2021-2023 7,500
    Cadillac Lyriq 2022-2024 7,500
    Chevrolet Bolt 2022-2023 7,500
    Bolt EUV 2022-2023 7,500
    Silverado EV 2024 7,500
    Chrysler Pacifica PHEV 2022-2023 7,500
    Ford E-Transit 2022-2023 7,500
    Escape Plug-In Hybrid 2022-2023 6,843
    F-150 Lightning 2022-2023 7,500
    Mustang Mach-E 2022-2023 7,500
    Genesis Electrified GV70 2023-2024 7,500
    Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 2022-2023 7,500
    Wrangler 4xe 2022-2023 7,500
    Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring 2022-2023 6,534
    Corsair Grand Touring 2022-2023 6,843
    Nissan Leaf S 2021-2023 7,500
    Leaf S Plus 2021-2022 7,500
    Leaf SL Plus 2021-2022 7,500
    Leaf SV 2021-2022 7,500
    Leaf SV Plus 2021-2023 7,500
    Rivian R1S 2022-2023 7,500
    R1T 2022-2023 7,500
    Tesla Model 3 Long Range 2022-2023 7,500
    Model 3 Performance 2022-2023 7,500
    Model 3 RWD 2022-2023 7,500
    Model Y All-Wheel Drive 2022-2023 7,500
    Model Y Long Range 2022-2023 7,500
    Model Y Performance 2022-2023 7,500
    Volkswagen ID.4 2023 7,500
    ID.4 AWD Pro 2023 7,500
    ID.4 AWD Pro S 2023 7,500
    ID.4 Pro 2023 7,500
    ID.4 Pro S 2023 7,500
    ID.4 S 2023 7,500
    Volvo S60 (PHEV) 2022 5,419
    S60 Extended Range 2022 7,500
    S60 T8 Recharge (Extended Range) 2023 7,500

    Used EV tax credit eligible vehicles 2023

    Make Model Year
    Audi A3 e-tron 2016-2018
    A3 e-tron ultra 2016
    A7 55 TFSI e Quattro 2021
    A7 TFSI e Quattro 2022
    A8 L 60 TFSI e Quattro 2021
    A8L PHEV 2020
    e-tron 2019, 2021-2022
    e-tron GT (e-tron GT/RS e-tron GT models) 2022-2023
    e-tron S (standard and Sportback models) 2022
    e-tron Sportback 2020-2021
    Q4 50 e-tron Quattro (standard and Sportback models) 2022
    Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro 2021
    Q5 PHEV 2020
    Bentley Bentayga Hybrid SUV 2020-2021
    BMW 330e 2016-2018, 2021
    330e xDrive 2021
    530e 2018-2021
    530e xDrive 2018-2021
    740e 2017
    740e xDrive 2018-2019
    745e xDrive 2020-2021
    i3 (60 Ah) Sedan 2017
    i3 Sedan 2014-2021
    i3 Sedan with Range Extender 2014-2021
    i3s Sedan 2018-2021
    i3s Sedan with Range Extender 2018-2021
    i8 2014-2017
    i8 Coupe 2019-2020
    i8 Roadster 2019-2020
    X3 xDrive30e 2020-2021
    X5 xDrive40e 2016-2018
    X5 xDrive45e 2021
    Cadillac ELR 2014-2016
    Chevrolet Bolt 2017-2021
    Spark EV 2014-2016
    Volt 2011-2019
    Chrysler Pacifica PHEV 2017-2021
    Fiat 500e 2013-2019
    Ford C-Max Energi 2013-2017
    Escape Plug-in Hybrid 2020-2021
    Focus Electric 2012-2018
    Fusion Energi 2013-2020
    Mustang Mach-E 2021
    Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid 2018-2021
    Hyundai Ioniq Electric Battery Vehicle 2017-2019
    Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle 2018-2021
    Kona Electric Vehicle 2019-2021
    Nexo Blue Fuel Cell Vehicle 2019-2021
    Nexo Fuel Cell Vehicle 2019-2021
    Sonata Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle 2016-2019
    Mercedes-Benz B-Class EV (B250e) 2014-2017
    GLC350e 4matic 2018-2019
    GLC350e 4matic EQ 2020
    GLE550e 4matic PHEV 2016-2018
    S550e PHEV 2015-2017
    S560e EQ PHEV 2020
    MINI Cooper S E Countryman ALL4 2018-2021
    Cooper S E Hardtop 2020-2021
    Mitsubishi i-MiEV 2012-2014, 2016-2017
    Outlander PHEV 2018-2021
    Nissan Leaf S 2013-2021
    Leaf S Plus 2019-2021
    Leaf SL 2011-2019
    Leaf SL Plus 2019-2021
    Leaf SV 2011-2021
    Leaf SV Plus 2019-2021
    Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid (All models) 2015-2021
    Panamera E-Hybrid (All models) 2014-2016, 2018-2021
    Taycan (All EV Models) 2020-2021
    Smart USA Cabrio EV 2013-2015, 2017-2018
    Coupe EV 2013-2018
    EQ Fortwo Cabrio 2019
    EQ Fortwo Coupe 2019
    Subaru Crosstrek Plug-In Hybrid 2019-2021
    Toyota Mirai 2016-2021
    Prius Prime Plug-In Hybrid 2017-2021
    RAV4 EV 2012-2014
    RAV4 Plug-In Hybrid 2021
    Volkswagen e-Golf 2015-2019
    ID.4 (First Edition, Pro, Pro S, AWD Pro, AWD Pro S models) 2021
    Volvo S60 T8 2019-2021
    S90 2018-2021
    V60 2020-2021
    XC40 Recharge 2021
    XC60 2018-2021
    XC90 2016-2021
    XC90 Excellence 2018-2019

    Remember, even if the vehicle you want doesn’t qualify for a tax credit, the average driver will still save thousands of dollars per year on fuel alone by charging an EV at home compared to paying for gas.

    Setting up an EV charging system

    The combination of a solar panel system and EV charging station brings several benefits and provides a cost-effective way to produce and make use of your solar energy.

    Solar inverters are an important piece of this puzzle. Before your solar energy can be used by most of your devices and appliances, it must be converted from direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). This is also the case for fueling your electric car with solar energy.

    The actual charging port will be installed and connected to the inverter so that it can draw the electricity and send it into the electric car’s battery.

    Another option however, is to use a product like the new SolarEdge EV charging inverter, which pairs the charger and the inverter into one device.

    How much does an EV charging station cost?

    According to Carvana, Level 1 and Level 2 home charging stations cost between 1,000 and 2,000 for parts and labor. Level 3 chargers can cost up to 50,000, but they work exclusively with certain EVs. Most EV drivers will stick to Level 1 and 2 chargers.

    Unfortunately, the IRA doesn’t have specific incentives for EV chargers. But it does offer incentives for upgrading your wiring and electric panel, which may be necessary when adding a charging station.

    Even so, by charging an EV with solar panels instead of grid energy the average driver will recoup that cost of a typical Level 1 or 2 charger within two to six years.

    Charging an EV with solar versus grid energy

    Annual cost of charging with solar Annual cost of charging on grid Cumulative savings
    Year 1 323.75 671.78 348.03
    Year 2 323.75 685.08 709.36
    Year 3 323.75 698.64 1,084.25
    Year 4 323.75 712.48 1,472.98
    Year 5 323.75 726.58 1,875.82
    Year 6 323.75 740.97 2,293.04

    Based on average annual price increase of 1.98% since 1990.

    Not a bad deal for never having to visit a gas station or public charger again!

    Should I buy solar panels or an EV first?

    To complete the EV solar charging trifecta you’re going to need – you guessed it – solar panels.

    Whether you already have a home solar system or not, you’ll almost certainly need to add some panels to power your EV – it’s just a matter of how many. The good news is that the IRA increased the solar tax credit to 30% for the next 10 years, which puts a substantial dent in the cost.

    Let’s go through two common EV-solar scenarios.

    Scenario 1: Getting an EV before you have solar

    If you get an EV before you have solar, great! Your next step is to install an EV charging station so you can charge at home with grid energy (the second cheapest option to home solar).

    In this scenario, it’s recommended to take a few months to establish your EV battery usage and its effect on your energy bill. Having a solid set of data will help solar installers make a precise calculation of how much solar you need to offset your electricity usage.

    Once you’ve got a baseline and you’re ready to cut your EV charging bill in half, head to solar.com to get binding quotes on a solar system.

    Scenario 2: Getting an EV when you already have solar

    If you already have solar before you get an EV, great! Like the previous scenario, your next step is to get an EV charging station so you can charge at home with solar energy.

    What you’ll likely find is that until you add panels to account for your EV usage, your solar system won’t completely offset your electricity usage, and you may end up with a electricity bill at the end of the year.

    There’s two ways to fix this:

    • Get a couple month’s worth of data to know exactly how much extra solar capacity you need
    • Work with a solar.com Energy Advisor to estimate how many additional panels you’ll need to offset your EV usage

    Let’s do some math to get a ballpark figure of how many solar panels it takes to charge an EV.

    How many solar panels does it take to charge an EV?

    The exact amount of panels required to charge an EV with solar depends on type of panel, EV battery size, distance traveled, and the amount of sun exposure. But in general, it takes between 5 and 12 panels to charge an EV entirely on solar power (perhaps less if you work from home).

    Just to get a ballpark, let’s use as an example the Nissan LEAF SV Plus, which has a 62 kWh battery and 215 mile range, since it’s eligible for the 7,500 Clean Vehicle credit.

    First, calculate output per panel

    First, we need to consider the amount of energy that an individual solar panel is producing. The energy production of a solar panel is dependent on its material, size, efficiency, age, and a few other factors.

    Assuming 5 hours of sunlight a day, a typical 250 watt solar panel will produce around 37.5 kWh of AC per month or 1.25 kWh a day. Again, this is an estimate and lots of factors will affect production.

    5 hours of sun per day X 250 watt = 1,250 Watt-hours or 1.25 kWh per day

    Next, calculate your EV battery usage

    Now let’s calculate how much solar output you’ll need to charge your EV battery.

    The average driver travels 37 miles per day and the LEAF gets 3.7 miles per kWh. That translates to 10 kWh of electricity per day.

    You can easily adjust this calculation to meet your driving habits and EV efficiency.

    37 miles per day / 3.7 miles per kWh = 10 kWh of electricity per day

    Finally, divide EV usage by solar panel output

    If one 250 watt solar panel can produce approximately 1.25 kWh a day of AC electricity, and you need 10 kWh of electricity per day, that means you would need eight 250 watt panels to charge your Nissan LEAF EV entirely on solar power.

    10 kWh of EV usage / 1.25 kWh of production per panel = Eight 250-watt panels

    If you upgraded to premium 400-watt solar panels that produce 2 kWh per day, you would only need 5 panels in this scenario. On the other hand, if you’re only getting 4 hours of sun per day, you’d need closer to 12 250-watt panels to charge your EV.

    The scenarios are endless and we’ll admit that the math gets a little dense. If you need more clarity on your own situation, it’s best to speak with an energy advisor to discuss your specific needs.

    Should I charge my EV with solar panels?

    You should charge your EV with solar panels only if you want the cheapest, cleanest, and most convenient driving experience possible.

    The obvious hurdle is upfront cost for both EVs and solar panels. However, the IRA created beefed-up incentives for both things, including a 7,500 tax credit for new EVs and 30% tax credit for solar and battery, which can help soften the blow.

    Here’s the other way to look at it: Charging your EV with solar costs about 50% less than charging with grid power and at least 75% less than public charging or gas. All you’re doing is buying 25 years’ worth of fuel at once for a significant discount – just like buying bulk at Costco.

    Solar panels are a cost-effective way to fuel your electric car and may require anywhere from 5 to 12 solar panels. You can use the averages above as a benchmark when doing your own analysis, and if you ever need help do not hesitate to talk with one of our energy advisors today!

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    How and why to use solar panels to charge an electric car

    There may not be a better pairing than home solar panels and electric cars. Both of these exciting technologies represent a major shift away from how things have been done for a long time. Together they are sparking a revolution in self-reliance while helping to lead to a better future for everyone.

    Electric vehicles (EVs) are more efficient and less expensive than gas cars and aren’t susceptible to the huge fluctuations in gas seen in recent years. Our solar-powered EV report shows that electric cars become even cheaper when you fill the battery at home with rooftop solar panels. In addition, pairing an EV with solar panels massively reduces your carbon footprint.

    Let’s dive into the numbers to show exactly how much better EVs are compared to gas cars, then explore how many solar panels you might need to offset the energy needs based on the EV in your driveway.

    Key takeaways

    • Home solar is cheaper and cleaner than grid power over the long term in almost every place in the United States.
    • Public EV charging is even more expensive than grid power and no less polluting, for the most part.
    • A home needs between five and ten 400-watt solar panels to charge an EV for an average day of driving.
    • The same panels that charge your first EV will last long enough to charge your second and third, up to 30 or 40 years.

    Why you should charge your electric car with solar panels

    The reasons to charge your EV with solar panels are simple: it’s the cheapest and cleanest way to fuel a motor vehicle.

    According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average American drives about 13,500 miles per year or about 40 miles per day. Over the course of a year, the driver of a gas-powered Hyundai Kona will pay around 1,440 for the 420 gallons of gasoline they’d need to go that far (based on 32 mpg fuel economy). Gas fluctuate, and due to inflation and the war in Ukraine, they’re basically as high as they’ve ever been:

    Gas have jumped around wildly in the past two years. Image source: AAA

    If the driver chose a Kona EV instead, they’d need to buy 27 kWh of electricity for every 100 miles they drive, or 3,645 kWh per year. At the average electricity price of 0.2282/kWh in California, they’d pay just 830 for their annual driving, saving over 600 compared to gas. In a cheap electricity state like Florida, where electricity costs about 0.1190/kWh, that annual cost to charge an EV drops to about 435, saving the driver 1,000 in fuel costs in a year.

    But charging that EV from solar is even better. Let us count the reasons:

    • The levelized cost of solar energy is usually cheaper than grid power.
    • The cost of grid power goes up over time, while solar panels keep producing electricity without additional cost.
    • Solar panels are far less polluting than gasoline or electricity from the grid:
    • 420 gallons of gas results in 8,135 lbs of CO2 emissions
    • 3,645 kWh of California grid power results in 1,837 lbs of CO2 (0.5 lbs/kWh 35 lbs CO2 from EV lithium battery production)
    • 3,645 kWh of home solar energy results in 321 lbs of CO2 (0.088 lbs/kWh 35 lbs CO2 from EV battery)

    Switching to an EV already means you’re cutting emissions by eliminating the need for gasoline and oil, but electricity from the grid still comes mostly from natural gas and coal. Just a handful of solar panels on your roof is enough to provide energy to charge your first EV, and your second, your third, and so on.

    Again, those panels will last at least 25 years. No wonder they call it renewable energy. Who knows—maybe they’ll even help power your first flying car?

    Here’s an infographic that shows why EVs and solar panels are a perfect match:

    How many solar panels do you need to charge your EV?

    Cost to charge an electric car with solar and without

    When you own an electric vehicle, every outlet is potentially a way to get a few more miles into your car’s batteries. Realistically, though, you’ll want to find a Level 2 EV charger for home use or the equivalent of a Tesla supercharger if you’re out on the road.

    There are basically three ways to get the juice that’ll keep your car on the road: the grid, public charging stations, or your own solar panels.

    Here’s how much each costs:

    Type of charging Cost Notes
    Grid power at home 0.10 to 0.40 per kWh Varies based on location and time; cheapest at night; cost increases over time
    Public charging stations 0.31 to 0.69 per kWh Varies based on location and charging station owner; additional idle fees; some require monthly subscription; cost increases over time
    Solar power at home Around 0.06/kWh Levelized over the solar panels’ lifetime; additional solar energy can be used to offset electricity bill

    Charging from the grid at home

    You can charge an EV at home without solar, but it’ll cost you. Image source: Electrek

    The ongoing cost of fuel from the grid is whatever you currently pay for a kilowatt-hour (kWh). In the United States, that can be between 0.10 and 0.40 depending on where you live, but the average is about 0.15/kWh. For every kWh in your battery, you’ll get about 3 to 4 miles of range, so about 12 kWh will get you a 40-mile round trip every day, at an average cost of 1.80.

    That’s how it looks now, but electricity rise like everything else, so next year, you might be paying 2 or 3% more for electricity, and over the lifetime of your car, could rise much higher. Over the next 25 years, your average cost for a kWh of grid power will be around 19 cents if electricity rise 2.8% per year and you live in a state where electricity is currently 0.15/kWh.

    At historical rates of energy cost increase, Californians will start out paying 830 per year to charge an EV, and end up paying about 1,300 per year in 20 years when using grid power.

    Complicating matters just a bit is the concept of Time-of-Use billing (TOU), which means that electricity costs different amounts at different times of day. As an EV owner, you likely have the option of choosing a TOU plan and charging your car exclusively at night, when electricity is cheapest. TOU billing rates vary widely between states, with some overnight off-peak rates as low as 0.07/kWh, while others such as SDGE in California bottom out at 0.31/kWh.

    Public charging stations

    You won’t need it often, but public EV charging stations are sometimes necessary. Image source: Electrive

    When you’re out in the world and need to top up the “tank,” you’re going to be looking for a public charging station to do it. To a certain extent, this is unavoidable if you own an EV, but you will save a lot of money if you can limit how often you do it.

    Of course, there are free EV charging stations located all around the country, but for the most part, you’ll probably be paying for the electricity you need, and paying a lot, at that.

    for charging vary by location. For example, Tesla charging stations currently cost around 0.25/kWh for Tesla owners, with higher in California and other states with high electricity prices. Services like Electrify America and Blink are even more costly, with a minimum charge of 0.31/kWh, and a maximum of 69/kWh for fast charging, sometimes dependent on whether you pay a monthly membership fee first.

    At 0.31/kWh with a 4 monthly membership fee, charging with Electrify America would cost the owner of our proverbial Hyundai Kona 1,134 for their 3,645 kWh of charging—more than twice the average cost of charging with grid power at home, but still cheaper than gas!

    Charging with home solar

    Realistically, you won’t have wind turbines in your backyard, but you can dream!

    If you pay for a solar panel system at your home, you’ll have to either lay out some cash or take a solar loan and pay over time. That’s not a small expense, but you can compare it to the cost of paying for electricity for the next 25 years.

    To do that, you calculate the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE, which is just the total cost of installation spread over all the electricity your solar panels will generate in their lifetimes and adjusted for inflation.

    The good news here is the LCOE of home solar in the U.S. is currently about 0.06/kWh for systems with a current average solar installation cost of 3.00 per watt (as of February 2023) before the federal solar tax credit. In states with lots of sun, like California, or states with additional incentives, like Massachusetts, solar LCOE is much lower.

    Basically, by guaranteeing your fuel source (solar) for the next 25 years, you’ll save a bundle of money on EV charging.

    Do you need home solar batteries to store energy for EV charging?

    Many people worry that they’ll need a battery such as the Tesla Powerwall to store solar energy they will later use to charge their EV. We’re here to tell you that’s not necessary, and it may not even be very practical.

    Take the Tesla Model 3: depending on which version you choose, it will have a battery of between 54 and 82 kWh. You would need between 4 and 6 Powerwalls in order to store enough energy to fill the car’s battery from stored solar energy. Those Powerwalls would cost you at least 30,000, in addition to the cost of solar panels and a car.

    Luckily, dropping 30 racks on sleek home batteries is unnecessary. First, you won’t often need to charge the car’s full battery in one go. Second, you’ll likely get net metering benefits, meaning you earn credit for extra solar energy that you send to the grid during the day, which you draw from when charging your car at night. With net metering, the grid acts as your “battery.”

    As an added bonus, net metering and TOU billing can combine to make solar car charging a heck of a good deal. When your solar panels make electricity during the day, you earn net metering credits at the higher daytime prices, and are then able to charge the car at the low overnight prices. It’s the best of both worlds!

    When solar charging isn’t a good idea

    The numbers we gave above are averages that show the general benefits of solar and EVs together. There will always be specific cases where charging an EV from solar isn’t the best choice.

    Specifically, if your state doesn’t offer net metering, your utility has very low overnight energy on a TOU plan, or your roof isn’t right for solar because it’s too shaded, you might be better off charging your electric car from the grid.

    What about cars with solar panels built in?

    We wish we had better news for you here, but cars with solar cells built into their bodies are not the answer to all the world’s problems. On the sunniest days with the car parked in the perfect, shade-free spot for the whole day, the solar cells will make enough electricity to get the car an extra 10 to 20 miles of range.

    How to charge an EV with solar

    Now that you know why you should charge an electric car with solar panels, here’s a little more about how to do it, to make sure you add the right number of panels and get a good value for the long term.

    Here are the steps to use solar panels to charge your electric car:

    • Step 1: Determine how many kWh you need for your car for your driving habits
    • Step 2: Figure out how many solar panels you need to make those kWh
    • Step 3: Purchase solar equipment that can make that much electricity
    • Step 4: Get a Level 2 car charger
    • Step 5: Enjoy!

    Determine how many kWh you need every day

    The first step is to find out how many kWh are needed to drive your car. If you keep track of mileage over a year, this step can be pretty easy. If not, you can estimate using an average number of miles per day.

    As we said above, the average American drives about 40 miles per day. Let’s use that as a baseline. Here are the most efficient electric cars for 2023, excluding plug-in hybrid cars:

    Top-selling U.S. electric vehicles in 2023 by efficiency

    Make and model kWh for 40 Mi. daily range
    Lucid Air Pure AWD 9.6
    Hyundai Ioniq 6 SE RWD 9.64
    Tesla Model 3 RWD 10
    Hyundai Kona Electric 10.8
    Chevrolet Bolt EV 11.2
    Kia EV6 Standard Range RWD 11.2
    Tesla Model S 11.2
    Tesla Model Y AWD 11.2
    Toyota bZ4X 11.2
    Chevrolet Bolt EUV 11.6
    Kia Niro Electric 11.6
    Hyundai Ioniq 5 RWD 12
    Nissan LEAF 12
    MINI Cooper SE Hardtop 2 door 12.4
    Polestar 2 Single Motor 12.4
    Subaru Solterra AWD 12.4
    Volkswagen ID.4 12.4
    Ford Mustang Mach-E RWD 13.2
    Audi e-tron GT 16.4
    Ford F-150 Lightning 4WD 19.2

    Sorted from most efficient to least; data from FuelEconomy.gov; where multiple trim levels exist, the most efficient was chosen to limit each car model to one entry.

    How many solar panels you need to charge your electric car

    Based on the table above, you’ll need between around 10 and 12 kWh of electricity per day to charge the most efficient electric cars, but even power-hungry premium EVs like the Ford F-150 Lightning need less than 20 kWh per day for 40 miles of range. Now it’s time to figure out how many solar panels you’ll need to make that much electricity.

    The average modern solar panel can put out around 400 watts under full sun, and gets between 3 and 7 peak sun hours per day, depending on where you live. That means our solar panel makes between 1.2 to 3.0 kWh of electricity every day (400 x 3 at the low end or 400 x 7.5 at the high end).

    Let’s say you get 2 kWh per day, per panel. You’d need just five panels to make enough energy to charge a Tesla Model 3 battery and get 40 miles of range. That’s not very many! Of course, the number of panels increases if you need more than a 40-mile range.

    Using the same math, you can determine that every EV on our list above needs just 5 to 7 solar panels to charge it every day. On the high side, you’d need 10 panels to make enough energy to drive 40 miles in a Ford F-150 LIghtning. Clearly, that is a truck that doesn’t sip the sun juice.

    How many solar panels do you need to charge your EV?

    Buy the equipment needed to charge your electric car with solar

    Of course you can’t just stick five solar panels on your roof and plug them into your car. You need a solar panel system and all the equipment that goes with it.

    A typical solar EV charging setup would include the following:

    • Solar panels on your roof, mounted on metal racks and attached to the roof deck
    • Either a string inverter that combines the DC output of the solar panels to AC, or microinverters that convert each panel’s output to AC and send it to a combiner box that connects to your main AC panel
    • A Level 2 EV charger (or, combine 2 into 1 with an EV-charging solar inverter like the SolarEdge SE7600H)

    What to do if you already have solar. If you’re a current solar owner and you’re thinking about adding an EV, you can just get a Level 2 EV charger if you have room for a new 50-amp breaker in your main panel. If you want to expand your solar array to meet the needs of charging an EV, you can use the guide above to see how many panels you’ll need for your estimated usage. You can also use our free and easy-to-use solar panel calculator.

    Enjoy

    Congratulations! You now have a solar-powered electric car. To be fair, unless you’re charging during the day when the sun is up, the electrons stored in your car’s batteries won’t be the same ones knocked loose from the silicon in your panels.

    Instead, you’ll be producing enough solar electricity to offset your car’s needs over the course of the year, reducing your carbon footprint, and saving money. all at the same time. And those same five panels can produce electricity for decades to come. 25 years of fuel all on a small section of your roof.

    The bottom line:

    Making the switch from fossil fuels to solar electricity is good for your book, and also a great way to shrink your carbon footprint. The higher initial cost of an electric car can be quickly offset by the fuel cost savings you’ll see, and many EVs still qualify for state and federal electric vehicle incentives to reduce the upfront cost by 7,500 or more.

    The amount of energy you’ll need depends on your car’s battery capacity and your average miles driven per day, but no matter how much electricity you need, you’ll probably save a lot of money if you charge that car with home solar panels.

    Ben Zientara

    Solar Policy Analyst and Researcher

    Ben is a writer, researcher, and data analysis expert who has worked for clients in the sustainability, public administration, and clean energy sectors.

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    Electric Car FAQs

    Electric Car FAQs

    View Inventory Value Your Trade Thinking of upgrading to an electric car but have EV uncertainty or electric car range anxiety? Our Chrysler, Dodge, Ram and Jeep dealership in Georgetown can put your anxiety at ease and tell you everything you need to know about the EVs for sale on our lot. Learn about electric car range, recharging capabilities and other perks to see how an EV can change the way you approach your daily drives. Plus, our nearby Ram and Jeep dealer has an on-site EV charging station for your convenience, so you can plug in your vehicle to charge whenever you visit. Reach out to one of the experts at Floyd A. Megee Motor Company and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about new electric cars for sale nearby! Contact Us

    How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

    The exact cost of charging an EV will vary based on what your local electricity rates are. Given the average cost of gasoline nationwide, however, charging an EV is often much cheaper than driving a gas-powered vehicle for the same miles.

    How far can an electric car go on a full charge?

    Many electric vehicles these days offer ranges of over 200 miles, with some reaching up to 300 miles or more on a single charge. Plug-in hybrids give you the best of both worlds by offering ultra-efficient all-electric range before switching over to the gas-powered engine. Buy a new Jeep Wrangler 4xe nearby with hybrid capabilities and enjoy a total driving range of up to 370 miles with up to 49 MPGe.

    How long does it take to charge an electric car at home?

    The time it takes to charge an electric vehicle will depend on the type of charger your EV is connected to. The Jeep Brand Level II PHEV Home Charging Station can charge up to six times faster than a Level 1 charger. Many EVs can be fully charged overnight, and public fast EV charging can give you impressive range in an hour or less. Jeep has also installed solar-powered charging stations on key trails in the U.S., so you can charge up your vehicle for off-road adventures.

    How long does an electric car last before recharging?

    The length of time an EV will last can depend on speed and road conditions. Often, it’s not about amount of time, but rather miles driven. When you’re interested in buying vs. leasing an EV from our nearby Ram and Jeep dealer, be sure to review the MPGe ratings and see how far your vehicle can go on a single charge.

    Have more EV questions or want to compare plug-in hybrids vs. electric cars? Contact Floyd A. Megee Motor Company and we’ll answer all your questions and help you feel fully confident in your EV-buying decision. We look forward to working with you!

    Our High Output Solar Charging System will charge your ride and gear in the backcountry with easy setup.

    The Solar Charging Station can charge your electric bike or battery-powered accessories from the campsite, treestand, or even your favorite trail!

    Increase your range with the Solar Panel charger that does not require an outlet! For maximum efficiency, the E-Bike charging panel connects directly to the bike battery.

    Set up the panel while sitting in your deer stand, fishing on the water, or relaxing at the campsite. As long as the panel is in direct sunlight, the charge time is roughly the same as charging from a standard outlet.

    Carry the panel easily in the included bag, which fits perfectly into any of the QuietKat Pannier Bags.

    The USB-A and USB-C connection outlets allow you to charge your phone, laptop, camera, and other devices.

    Do not attempt to use it at temperatures below freezing because it can permanently damage the battery. Do not attempt to charge the battery while operating the bike.

    NOT COMPATIBLE WITH LEGACY QUIETKAT E-BIKE MODELS FROM 2014-2019 OR APEX 1500W MODELS

    SPECIFICATIONS

    Full Dimensions: (L/H): 52″ x 36″ x.25″

    Packed Dimensions: 12.5″ x 8.25″ x 3.25″

    Max Power Output: 150 Watts

    Compatibility: 2020-2023 QK E-Bikes

    Connections: USB-A, USB-C, E-Bike

    Order Confirmation:As soon as you place your order, you will receive an order confirmation e-mail. This means that we have received your order in our system and pre-authorized your credit card for the purchase. As soon as we receive your order, we automatically reach out to our suppliers to confirm that it is in stock and available for immediate shipment. If your item is on backorder or unavailable, we will void the pre-authorization and reach out to you via e-mail or text message. If your item(s) are available, we will process the charges and submit the order for shipment.

    Order Shipment:If your order is in stock and we process the charges to your credit card, it will ship within five business days from the date of your order. We will send you tracking information within 24 hours of your order leaving the warehouse to the e-mail address you provided when checking out. If you do not receive tracking information from us within six business days of your order, feel free to follow up with us at support@cecesebikegarage.com

    Shipping Times:Shipping to the lower 48 usually takes between 3 to 5 business days but you should allow 3 to 10 business days depending on carrier used and delivery location.

    Damages: Please inspect the packaging of your item(s) when they arrive, if you notice any damage you should make note of it when signing for delivery. If your item(s) do arrived damaged, please send photos to returns@cecesebikegarage.com and we will process an insurance claim on your behalf.

    NOTICE: ALL PURCASES MADE THROUGH AFFIRM WILL BE SUBJECT TO A FORFEIT OF MERCHANT PROCESSING FEES IF A REFUND IS ISSUED.

    Ride Now. Pay over time.

    0% Options | Spread payments over time with no hidden fees | Instant approval

    Cece’s E-Bike Garage has teamed up with different financial institutions to offer you a variety of financing options. If you choose to finance your purchase you can do so during the checkout process.

    When checking out on the website you will see the below options. First is the Credit Card option, but immediately below are the 2 financing options. PayPal – Affirm.

    Regardless of which financing option you choose, we ship your order immediately.

    Each financing option is different and I’ll explain the key points of each one for you on this page so you can make a decision based on which financing option is the best for you.

    NOTICE: ALL PURCASES MADE THROUGH AFFIRM WILL BE SUBJECT TO A FORFEIT OF MERCHANT PROCESSING FEES IF A REFUND IS ISSUED.

    Jeep solar charging station

    Welcome to EV101: Electric Vehicle Charging Basics

    What Affects Charging Speed?

    Your vehicle

    There are a lot of variables that affect each vehicle’s charging speed. When a battery is more depleted, the charging speed is typically faster. However, batteries don’t like to charge quickly when they’re too hot or too cold, so charging may be slower in extreme temperatures.

    Different vehicle manufacturers design different batteries. And because the battery is usually the single most expensive “thing” inside a vehicle, it’s in everyone’s best interest to maximize the battery’s longevity, health, and safety. As a result, when a vehicle charges, the vehicle decides the power it draws from the charger in a way that maximizes longevity.

    The charging system

    Different electric vehicles have different capacities for charging speeds; charging stations also have different capacities, and the maximum rate of your charging session is determined by whichever is lower, the capability of the car or the charger. For example, a 50 kW capable EV would not charge any faster at a 350 kW station. Also, it is worth noting that higher capable vehicles can charge at lower capable stations, they are just limited to what the station can provide.

    Outside temperature

    Electric vehicle batteries don’t like to be too hot or too cold. The charging of a battery generates heat (check your mobile phone when its charging), and the battery management system will protect a battery from overheating, so when the battery gets too hot the battery management system will slow down charging (and if the ambient temperature is high or you’ve been driving your EV for a long time then this might happen earlier as the battery temperature is already elevated).

    charging, your, solar, panels, using

    How Does the Vehicle Decide Your Charging Rate?

    The vehicle’s Battery Management System (BMS — or “brain”) considers all of the factors explained above in order to maximize the longevity of the battery. Is the battery hot right now? Is it cold outside? Is the battery old and deteriorated? How full is the battery? Given all of this information, the vehicle tells the charger the voltage and current it can accept. the product of which determines the charge rate.

    When the vehicle starts charging, it may reach (or get close to) the maximum charging rate (i.e. 50 kW). But as the charge continues — and the battery gets hotter and its cells start to fill — the vehicle will slow the charging rate to reduce the strain on the battery. When the battery is about 80% full, the charge rate can slow rapidly, as shown in the example below:

    Why Does My Charging Speed Slow Down as I Charge?

    To answer that question, we first have to understand the vehicle’s battery. When most people imagine a car battery, they might imagine one big block sitting inside the car. In reality, inside a “battery pack” are hundreds — and often thousands — of smaller “battery cells.” (The Tesla Model S has up to 7,104 battery cells!) As a result, when a battery charges, those thousands of cells are actually what’s being charged.

    A helpful analogy might be to imagine sitting in a movie theater. When the theater is empty, it’s easy to find a seat right away. But as the theater fills up, we have to take a few moments to find a seat — and climb over people (without knocking over their popcorn). That’s what happens with battery cells at the molecular level. When the battery cells are nearly empty, it’s easy to “find a seat” to charge. But as the battery cells fill up, it takes more time to find (and navigate) the empty cells. Generally, above 80% full is when it’s hardest for electrons to find a seat in your battery’s movie theater.

    NOTE: Your charging speed will slow down throughout the course of your charge. And every vehicle decides that “slow down rate” differently. Every manufacturer determines this in order to keep your vehicle’s battery healthy and increase longevity.

    Why Does My Charging Speed Slow Down as I Charge?

    To answer that question, we first have to understand the vehicle’s battery. When most people imagine a car battery, they might imagine one big block sitting inside the car. In reality, inside a “battery pack” are hundreds — and often thousands — of smaller “battery cells.” (The Tesla Model S has up to 7,104 battery cells!) As a result, when a battery charges, those thousands of cells are actually what’s being charged.

    A helpful analogy might be to imagine sitting in a movie theater. When the theater is empty, it’s easy to find a seat right away. But as the theater fills up, we have to take a few moments to find a seat — and climb over people (without knocking over their popcorn). That’s what happens with battery cells at the molecular level. When the battery cells are nearly empty, it’s easy to “find a seat” to charge. But as the battery cells fill up, it takes more time to find (and navigate) the empty cells. Generally, above 80% full is when it’s hardest for electrons to find a seat in your battery’s movie theater.

    NOTE: Your charging speed will slow down throughout the course of your charge. And every vehicle decides that “slow down rate” differently. Every manufacturer determines this in order to keep your vehicle’s battery healthy and increase longevity.

    Why Am I Not Getting the Maximum Charge Rate on My Car’s Nameplate?

    There are several reasons for this. When a car advertises a maximum charging rate of 50 kW, that doesn’t mean it can consistently charge at that rate.

    When a vehicle connects to a charger, a conversation takes place between the charger and the vehicle — and it’s dominated by the vehicle. The charger tells the vehicle both the voltage and current rates it can accept, and the charger provides only what the vehicle can accommodate. As a result, the vehicle manages its battery to provide the longest useful life by not overcharging it. Here are some examples of things that affect your charging speed:

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