Ford, SunPower want you to charge that electric vehicle with solar

The 'Drive Green for Life' program makes it simpler for Ford electric vehicle, hybrid owners to invest in solar panels to run their home charging station.

If it galls you to think that your electric vehicle will be charged with coal-generated electricity, Ford and solar technology company SunPower have a proposition for you. The two companies are teaming up on a residential electric vehicle charging infrastructure that homeowners can use to charge up their Focus Electric vehicle through solar means.

The program that the two companies have cooked up is called "Drive Green for Life." It combines a 2.5-kilowatt rooftop solar system using SunPower panels, a combination that will produce about 3,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Or, to put it another way, enough power to drive an electric vehicle for about 1,000 miles per month.

The system is compatible with the charging technologies being used by the Focus Electric vehicle series, as well as the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid line that Ford expects to roll out in 2012.

The companies say that after federal tax credits, a homeowner could expect to pay about $10,000 for a typical installation; SunPower has developed a series of financing options to help make the idea a bit easier to swallow from a cost standpoint. You can buy the 240-volt charger for the Focus Electric at Best Buy. There is also a 25-year warranty on the panels. The program will cover all 19 markets in the United States where the Focus Electric is being introduced.

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