5 Great Electric Cars and How to Charge Them With Solar Power
When adding solar power to your home, it is worthwhile to consider if you’ll be choosing an electric vehicle in the coming years. These vehicles have gone down in price while going up in some critical numbers:
– Horsepower, which means you can avoid sluggishness on the highway.
– Range, which means that you can both commute and go on moderate distance trips without needing to plug in and top up on electricity.
– Features, with semi-automated aspects, touch screens, and beautiful designs starting to gain popularity.
As you see more and more electric cars on the road, consider these options that can generate a great impact on your carbon footprint. Using solar energy to power them makes your impact even greater, and further reduces the costs of operating your electric car.
5 Great Electric Car Options
A Crowd Favorite on Range and Cost: Chevy Bolt
Chevy Bolts have become the go-to electric car because of range (in 2017, 240 miles per charge) and affordability, with a starting price of $36,620. Fans praise the fact that the interior is roomy despite being a physically small car, resembling many other popular compact hatchbacks on the market. With the over-200-mile range, it becomes possible for a Chevy Bolt to be a travel car more than any other standard electric vehicle. As more companies see a benefit to adding electric charging stations to their parking lots, Bolts will grow further in popularity, with companies essentially “paying the gas bill” so that employees will drive a more sustainable car.
Affordable and Growing Range: Nissan Leaf
Nissan was in the field before most of the other popular EVs were available, which means that they still can boast being the all-time most popular electric car. However, they have so far won on affordability (2017 models are just over $30,000), but lost on range, though they have broken through to 107 miles per charge with their latest model. They have the history to back up their successful sales, and honestly, few people drive 100 miles on an average day; if you want to invest in a reliable, interesting electric car with a long development history, the Nissan Leaf has been doing this for a while.
Truly Tiny With a Small Price Tag: Smart Electric Drive
If you truly only need a tiny space to get you from work to home and back, you can’t do better than the smart electric drive. The company has capitalized on the success of the smart car, the small vehicles you see zipping around and parking with lots of space even in tiny spots. Their fully electric car is one of the cheapest on the market ($25,825), which becomes truly a bargain once you add in the tax credits available. It has the lowest range featured, 68 miles per charge, but if that works for your daily needs, it is a great way to get into the electric vehicle game with a high quality car that has nice features like keyless entry coming standard.
For the Luxury Vehicle Lover: BMW i3
Not ready to give up the beautiful handling and zip of your favorite sports car? The BMW i3 is the answer for the luxury vehicle driver who wants the commute to work to be so pleasurable that they forget they have to work at the end of it. Design comes first in this car, but the 113 mile range will also ensure that all but road trip travel is within your reach. No, this isn’t your car for traversing wide open spaces, but for someone who is willing to splurge in order to have their sustainability combined with meticulous German engineering, the i3 is a great option.
Affordable Luxury, Exciting Design, But Still Hard to Get: Tesla Model 3
The Model S and Model X make the BMW i3 look affordably priced, though Tesla’s cache has remained at the forefront of electric cars simply because they really do create incredible machines that boast ranges and horsepower that no one else can currently touch. The vaunted Model 3, however, will explode onto the affordable-electric-car market with a $35,000 price point and is poised to sell hundreds of thousands if the production issues can be worked out to the point of cranking out the needed thousands of cars per week. Fans of CEO Elon Musk have been willing to wait, and if the Model 3 breaks as many records as the Model S and Model X, the demand for the car stands to exceed that of other electric cars once availability rises.
An Electric Car and a Solar Array Are a Match Made in Sustainability Heaven
Any of these cars will make it possible to create a great return on investment from getting the car of your sustainability dreams. Pairing them with a solar power system that can generate enough energy for your home and your new electric car will make it even more valuable. As explained in our article on the ROI of electric cars powered by solar energy, the savings on total car fueling costs per year averages to about $1400 a year. In addition, PV panels and fully electric vehicles come with tax credits, which reduce your total costs in the near term and the amount of time before the car and electricity system pay for themselves.
Maintenance costs on electric cars are minimal, with costs for oil changes, spark plugs, exhaust system, and fan belts non-existent. This means less money spent on maintenance, and also means less materials used in total to operate your car, furthering your reduction of your carbon footprint. Even brakes last much longer as modern electric cars use a system known as regenerative braking, feeding energy back into the battery each time you stop. And last, once the car battery packs are past their useful life, they can have a second life as stationary storage or be recycled.
Are you ready to to realize your dream of a sun powered car? Contact mtvSolar today for a FREE, zero-pressure consultation. mtvSolar owns Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volt Plug-in Hybrids and we’d be happy to show you how they work.