Electric vehicles and solar

Free fuel for your car

Sales of electric vehicles jumped 81 percent in 2018, spurred on by sleek new models like the Tesla Model 3 and Toyota Prius Prime. The cost of EVs are now roughly inline with the price of traditional cars.

More cities are building out charging infrastructure to accommodate the increased number of EVs. But other than being trendy, why are so many people buying EVs?


Believe it or not, it usually costs less to fuel your car with electricity than with gasoline. If you add solar power into the mix, you are looking at even more significant cost savings.

Consider the Nissan Leaf, which has a combined fuel economy rating of 30 kWh per 100 miles. We compared what it would cost to power the Leaf versus a similar gas-powered car for 9,000 miles a year, and here’s what we found:

  • Gas car: $1,260 a year (20 mpg, $2.80/gallon)
  • EV: $270 a year, paying for electricity from your utility ($0.10/kWh in the Northwest)
  • EV + Solar: Free using power from solar panels on your home

Beyond the savings, EV owners are helping to shift the energy paradigm away from fossil fuels to locally-sourced energy. Solar is a perfect companion for that, considering the power being generated is clean, free, and renewable. Solar energy systems are designed to last decades, meaning a few generations of EVs will be charged from the same system.

Here are some more interesting tidbits about EVs:

  • EV charging at home typically draws less than half the power of an electric furnace.
  • Most EVs get 3-5 miles per kWh and that rate is increasing
  • A 21-mile round trip commute is 7kWh or about 75 cents a day
  • A standard vehicle with an internal combustion engine has around 2,000 moving parts while an electric vehicle has about 20.

According to a conservative estimate from the Northwest Power and Conservation Council, we could keep $2 billion dollars per year in our region if we reduced the amount of gasoline we import and increased the amount of local electricity we use. Electricity doesn’t get any more local than solar on your own roof.

Curious how solar could power your EV? Give us a call or fill out the form below, and we’d be happy to explain it to you.