August 24, 2011

It’s the ultimate in green living, driving an electric car that is charged by a solar powered station. That’s the idea behind a partnership between Ford and solar panel maker SunPower. Ford is offering a rooftop solar option to customers who buy the upcoming Ford Focus electric vehicle. The Drive Green for Life provides electric car owners enough renewable energy production to offset the energy used for charging.

The SunPower solar system offered with the Ford Focus is a 2.5 kilowatt rooftop system which can provide enough electricity to fuel an electric car that travels about 1,000 miles per month. The system includes eleven panels that measure four feet by two feet. The solar power package is being offered for 10,000 dollars, after a federal tax credit. A system that size normally costs about 18,000 dollars. The high efficiency panels generate about 50 percent more electricity than conventional panels and take up less space on a rooftop.

Customers who buy the rooftop solar system also get a residential monitoring system which includes the ability to track the performance of their solar panels on the web or through an iPhone application. The 2012 Ford Focus electric will go on sale first in California and New York sometime this fall. Ford plans to launch 5 other electric or hybrid -electric models in 2012 in North America.