How much solar power do you need?
In order to make 15,000 annual miles travelled in a Bolt carbon free it would require a 1.5 to 2kw solar energy system in Tucson.

Bringing clean transporation within reach:
For the past 18 years we’ve been helping Tucsonans reduce the carbon footprint associated with their house's energy use. Transportation has always felt out of our reach to help with as an organization, beyond our bike advocacy efforts. When asked about our use of the Nissan Leaf, we often suggested that an electric vehicle (EV) would make a great second vehicle for a household.

With the Bolt's range making it suitable as a primary household vehicle, not only can household emissions be reduced but also the transportation-associated emissions in a significant and impactful way.

Accomodating driving habits with solar:
Our experience with both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt are that in-town driving results in about 5 miles per kWh, while freeway driving uses more energy and results in about 3.5 miles per kWh. Both numbers assume that the AC is not being used.

Pre-paid fuel for the life of the car:
Electric vehicles require 1 kilowatt hour (kWh) for every 5 miles of driving. Assuming an annual usage of 15,000 miles, the average driver will require a total of 3,000 kWh per year to meet their driving needs.

A typical solar panel is 350 watts, making a small installation size of about 5 panels enough to provide the necessary 3,000 kWh to keep an electric vehicle on the road each year. Based on typical solar energy system costs, all annual transportation expenses could be covered by a ~$3,000 system after the federal tax credit.

Mainstream Sticker Pricing:
The price after tax rebate is at or below the average new car sales price in the US. It now seems within reach of many Americans to take a real bite out of their carbon footprint with an EV. Given that the previous options for EV (BMW, Leaf, etc,) were similarly priced and the Chevy Bolt gets twice the range, if this vehicle and others like it are adopted in mass, they will pave the way for increased adoption of lower cost EV's that provide the range and performance to meet the needs of the average American driver. On top of that, they are significantly more fun to drive than the Prius!

Previous Entries in our EV Series

Electric Vehicles: Why Plug In?

A practical alternative to fueling up.

Introducing the Bolt

Adding a second EV to the TFS fleet.