Solar Charging an Electric Car

You can now buy a fully electric car with a range of 320km for a price around $30,000. That does not sound so cheap until you consider that you can save $2000 per year on fuel alone and mechanical repairs are much less.electric car My LPG converted ute has a range of 430km on a full tank so a range of 320km is not going to restrict me much especially when I can recharge an electric car at home.

If you have lots of solar and are not happy with low feed in tariffs, what about charging your electric car with solar? It takes about 60kWhr to fully charge an electric vehicle but you won’t be doing that every day. If you drive less than 320km per week then you only need to charge about 8.5kWhr per day and that is the average output of 2kW of solar panels. However there are some practical drawbacks.

If you are charging each day on solar then you can only drive at night. Home battery storage or fast charging gets around this problem but would represent substantial extra up-front costs. It is currently more cost effective to charge using Off Peak power at night at a cost of about $1.20 while collecting day time feed in tariffs of about $0.85 for your solar.

Off Peak power is likely to become more expensive as aging coal power stations close but power storage options are likely to become cheaper and part of normal household setups. Over the next ten years charging stations and charge/parking will become an expected part of community infrastructure and regions without them will be considered backward.

When fuel costs and maintenance is taken into account, electric vehicles are already cheaper than a new petrol or diesel car. The cost advantage will widen as mass production ramps up and the disadvantage of limited recharge options will gradually disappear. Early adopters may pay a more and have some inconvenience but late adopters will suffer loss of value of their existing vehicle while paying thousands in fuel and maintenance costs. Either way, the era of the electric car is only a few years away and the knock on effects will be substantial.


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