Ford has teamed up with SunPower to offer Ford Focus Electric buyers a solar array that will generate enough energy to power their vehicle for 1,000 miles a month. The two companies announced the partnership yesterday and it seems that with each purchase of the new all-electric Focus, the option to buy the solar charging system will come as an upgrade option. The upgrade will cost you though. The two companies noted the system will have a price tag of $10,000 — that’s after a 30% federal tax credit — but it will provide the vehicle with a clean energy boost that will extend its battery life.
The SunPower solar charging system will be a 2.5-kilowatt system capable of generating 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The federal government estimates that most vehicle owners drive about 1,000 miles a month and the 2.5-kilowatt system will provide all of the energy needs of that average driver. Perhaps they should have coupled this solar charger with an energy storage system as it will be pumping out clean energy during the day when drivers are most likely out and about with their vehicles.
The Focus will initially be available in 19 markets across the country, mostly urban centers, and will start shipping their new model in December of this year. Ford’s electric rollout comes about a year after the successful marketing and sales of Chevy’s plug-in hybrid-electric Volt and Nissan’s all-electric Leaf — the two most efficient cars on the market currently. Though all of these cars cut carbon emissions by using less — or no — fuel they’d all be cleaner if powered with renewable energy. About 1/3 of the nation’s power plants are coal-fired so plugging into this new SunPower system is much better than plugging into an outlet in the wall.