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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.
GM has spent a not-insubstantial sum on Sunlogics, a manufacturer of solar energy systems, in order to supply its Chevrolet dealerships with environmentally-friendly charging stations.
GM’s cash injection will also provide over 300 jobs in Detroit and Ontario for when Sunlogic expands their manufacturing bases. In addition, GM’s facilities will install solar arrays en masse to offset some of its power consumption.
Ultimately, GM aims to double its global solar output by 2015, from 30 to 60 megawatts, “which is equivalent to powering 10,000 homes annually,” said Mike Robinson, GM’s vice president of Energy, Environment and Safety Policy. ”Not only does renewable energy make good business sense, it helps us continue to reduce the impact our facilities have on the environment.”
GM already has three of the world’s largest rooftop solar installations in America, as well as the world’s largest one at its assembly plant in Zaragoza, Spain.
[Source: Silicon Republic]
How’s this for multi-tasking? You can drive around in it, you can camp in it and you can do your part for the environment in it – meet the Be-coc Camping Car.
Ideal for eco-conscious campers, the Camping Car is outfitted with Be-coc cube module, including two shells and two swivel solar panels per module, which services your power needs. In the way of living space, the Camping Car module opens to 3.60 m wide and gives you a great view of your surroundings. When it’s time to head home, it turns back into a compact car.
The Camping Car is also ideal for those outdoor enthusiasts who like to head to unserviced areas, as you can plug into the sun. It’s an amazing balance of luxury, eco-friendliness and roughing it.
[Source: Born Rich]
Audi is all about harnessing the sun for its power. In fact, at its main plant in Ingolstadt, Audi plans for its e-tron models to have their batteries charged with current obtained directly from photovoltaic equipment on the plant site.
That’s not all they’re using the sun for – by the end of the year, Audi is extending its solar energy capacity by adding on photovoltaic modules to a 7,500 square meter area of the new Audi A3 body construction building’s roof.
“This concept shows that Audi is tackling the topic of electromobility systematically,” said Plant Manager Peter Kössler. Using innovative thin-layer modules, this new photovoltaic installation meets stringent environmental protection, efficiency and flexibility standards.
For this project, Audi is once again working with Green City Energy (the automaker worked with the Munich-based company in 2009 to install photovoltaic modules on 11,600 square meters at the Ingolstadt plant). The new addition at Audi will have a peak output rating of 500 kilowatts and about 460 MWh of electricity can be generated from this new installation (that’s enough juice to power 180 households for a whole year). Thanks to this new extension, the plant will increase its total annual output from solar power 1,500 MWh.
The new addition marks the first time that solar energy generated on site has been used directly in Audi’s electricity network. As well as the new battery charging stations for electric cars, other production facilities will also use this green electricity.
Audi also uses solar power in its second German production plant in Neckarsulm. The photovoltaic installation is found on the roofs of garage parking facilities, and generates more than 1,000 MWh of electrical energy annually.
The owners of Pocono Raceway have installed a 25 acre solar farm designed to power the track’s electrical systems. With nearly 40,000 solar cells, the project cost $16 million dollars to install, but will save untold dollars in the long run.
“Several hundred thousand dollars a year is what our electric bill is,” track owner Brandon Igdalsky told CNN. “We’re spending almost $16 million to put this project in. We’re not going to have an electric bill anymore, and we’ll also be benefiting the grid when we’re not drawing power and supplying energy to the grid that will go to our neighbors’ homes … almost close to a thousand homes with this project.”
As much as 66% of the power generated will be fed back into the grid, due to the infrequent use of the track during days without major races. The solar system gets its first major use this weekend as both the NASCAR and ARCA series visit the track.
Hit the jump to see the video