Plug-in-cars will be in mass production by late 2010. Solar power has been around for decades. When you blend these technologies you have safe, comfortable and reliable transportation that has no effect on the environment. The trucks pictured above prove this. They run every day in Phoenix Arizona commuting to work, bringing kids to school and hauling materials for home projects. It is in all respects a normal pickup - Stereo, AC, freeway cruising speeds, etc - but it creates no green house gas and does not contribute to OPEC.

Achieving solar powered transportation requires the following basic components, all of which are available today or will be main-stream soon.  The components are:

  1. 1.An Electric Vehicle (EV) or a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV).

  2. 2.An on Grid or off grid solar power system “tuned” to the car’s power needs.

  3. 3.A charge station (which is basically a plug).

How It Works

Made on a Mac

The solar plant is making energy slowly each and every day.  The car only accesses that energy in short but fast bursts while it charges its batteries.  The trick then is to match the annual solar production to the vehicle’s annual consumption.

Here’s what is happening with our test vehicles which are a 1998 Ford Ranger EV and a 2000 Ford Ranger EV, currently both are using the old lead acid battery technology. These trucks were built by Ford as their answer to the CARB laws in California.  They are contemporary to GM’s EV1.  These electric Trucks where built from 1998 to 2001.  They are powered by an approximately 100 hp electric motor located on the rear axle, have a top speed of about 75 mph and have a range of 40 miles – slightly less when the air-conditioning is running. (Newer vehicles using newer battery technology will have much longer ranges).

With normal driving (taking kids to school, commuting to the office, shopping, etc;) the trucks consume about 3,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year. 

The 1998 Ford Ranger EV uses a solar power system which consists of 30 panels produces over 10,000 kWh per year.  So you can see that, on an annual basis, the truck consumes about 1/3 of the annual solar production.  The rest of the power is used by the house or sold to the electrical grid.  

Since the truck is using far less power than the solar plant is making, all the power used by the truck is solar.  To put it another way, the solar plant more than neutralizes the truck's load on the grid and thus eliminates the need to generate power using conventional methods.