One of the key advantages of acquiring an electric vehicle is the ability to switch from paying for gasoline to paying for cheaper energy. But why not go one step further and power your vehicle with solar energy generated on your property? Here's a short guide to determining how many solar panels you'll need to solar-power your electric vehicle (EV).
How much energy do leading electric vehicles require for each charge?
There are multiple ways to consider the electricity that an electric vehicle (EV) requires. First, evaluate the necessary charge per mile driven, commonly represented in kilowatt-hours per 100 miles driven (kWh/100 mi). Another way to analyze the electricity required to power an electric vehicle is to consider the energy required to charge the vehicle fully. This statistic is closer to how we now perceive the cost of refueling a car with an internal combustion engine.
The amount of electricity necessary to "fill the tank" of an EV corresponds to the size of the battery. In general, electric vehicle batteries can hold between 25 and 100 kWh, with the range that a vehicle can travel on a single charge dictating this range. Residential energy storage systems, such as the LG Chem RESU 10H and the Tesla Powerwall 2, typically store between 10 and 15 kWh of electricity.
How much electricity does an EV consume annually?
How much electricity an EV consumes daily, month or year mostly depends on the distance driven. If you live in a city and possess a car but drive it infrequently, the electricity necessary to power your EV over the year will be little. Alternatively, if you reside in a rural or suburban region and commute daily by automobile, the electricity necessary to operate your vehicle could account for a significant amount of your annual electricity use.
How many solar panels does your electric vehicle need?
To calculate the number of solar panels needed to power your electric vehicle, you'll need to know three essential data points:
1) the amount of electricity your vehicle will consume annually,
2) the wattage of the solar panels you intend to install, and
3) the efficiency with which solar panels create electricity in your area.
A typical EV will consume approximately 4,000 kWh of electricity per year for the average American driver. The most commonly supplied solar panels fall between 320 to 330 watts. In regions with greater sunlight, such as the Southwest, your solar panels will produce more electricity than in the Northeast.
Combining the data sets yields a range of solar panels needed to power different EVs in different regions each year. Depending on your location, seven or nine solar panels are often required to charge an electric vehicle.
Again, it is important to note that these calculations are mainly predicated on the assumption that you drive as much as the typical American driver each year. If you drive less than 1,000 miles per month, you will need fewer solar panels to power your electric vehicle.
Solar power your electric vehicle?
Why not use the sun to charge an electric vehicle if you purchase one? Our network of local, pre-screened solar firms will assist you in designing a system that matches your exact requirements.