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Electric cars not green enough for you? How about a solar powered car? Ford will be working with SunPower, an established solar provider, to build a solar energy system for the Focus electric vehicle that goes on sale later this year.
Solar panels will be mounted on the car owner’s house or garage, to power the vehicle. The panels won’t directly charge the electric car’s battery but will provide power to the house at a rate sufficient enough to offset nearly 1,000 miles of driving a month in the Focus.
The solar power option will allow for green electricity, rather than traditional electricity from a house, which is often made by burning fossil fuels at power plants. The 2.5-kilowatt system will produce about 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year. The power will be generated by 147 square feet of roof panels (11 panels that are 4 feet by 2 feet). The solar power option will be offered through Ford dealers for about $10,000 after federal tax credits. The Best Buy Geek Squad will work with Ford to install home chargers at the customers house, after the purchase.
Ford has yet to announce the price of the 2012 Focus electric, but the first vehicles go on sale in California and New York later this year.
With Best Buy considering selling electric cars, soon you’ll be able to charge your EV at that other blue and yellow big box retailer, IKEA. Thanks to a new partnership with ECOtality, 10 of the oversized furniture stores located in the Western U.S. will receive new Blink electric car charging stations as a part of a the EV Project, a partnership funded by both private organizations and the U.S. Department of Energy.
No official announcement has been made as to which stores will receive the charging stations, but states where locations are being considered include Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. ECOtality will install and manage the charging stations, while IKEA, “will be responsible for preparing sites for installation, keeping them orderly and reporting charging information to ECOtality.” The pilot project will run until December 2012.
“We are excited this partnership will make charging stations more accessible to the many people choosing to drive electric vehicles,” said Mike Ward, IKEA U.S. president. “Hosting charging stations at IKEA locations known for regional draws furthers our commitment to a smaller carbon footprint and technological opportunities that help protect the environment. This project is part of a global effort to promote the sustainable transport of people.”
In total ECOtality will establish 14,000 electric car charging stations in the U.S. at both residential and commercial locations.
Consumer Electronics retailer Best Buy is already selling Brammo electric motorcycles and has won contracts to supply home charging equipment for the upcoming Ford Focus Electric and Mitsubishi i Electric Vehicle. Now, it looks like the company might actually consider selling electric cars or at least contribute in some way to the ownership experience.
Chad Bell, a senior director from Best Buy, recently said, “we are having conversations with startups,” and “we are very excited about several partnerships that we can’t talk about yet.”
From some angles selling EVs make sense. Best Buy currently has 1,101 stores across the U.S. and as Bell noted, the company’s retail stores have far higher volumes of people coming through their doors every month than most dealers.
Having access to a turn-key retail network already vested in the field of electronic transportation could prove very attractive for small companies trying to break into the market, but at the other end of the spectrum, Bell says there are plenty of opportunities for Best Buy to work with established auto manufacturers. Examples include teaching consumers about EVs and how to operate them; including charging equipment, as well as syncing smart phones with vehicle connectivity systems, tasks that many dealers might find more effective to outsource than performing in-house.
In regards to the push for more EV vehicle focus, Best Buy’s Bell said, “it’s not a short-term play for us. This is a long-term business for us to be in.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Mapping out electric car charging stations onto an open source format like Google Maps seems like something totally self-evident, but the Department of Energy and Google are undertaking an official initiative to overlay EV charge points onto of a mapping application.
The project will be known as the GeoEVSE forum, and comprise of a database of 600 charging stations, which allows users to search by location, charger type and payment methods. Private companies like BestBuy are also getting on board, and the various entities involved hope that the project will help further public trust in electric vehicles and the surrounding infrastructure.