By Jose Luis Contreras
Government agencies, manufacturers and consumers alike are seeking transportation alternatives in the wake of rising gas prices – and where hybrid cars once led the fuel-efficient auto market, electric cars are now taking their place. As electric cars become increasingly common, consumers stand to benefit in more ways than one: by eliminating the need for gasoline, electric vehicles not only cut fuel costs, but also provide owners the opportunity to use solar power to achieve even greater savings for both transportation and home energy use overall.
Recent media coverage has repeatedly emphasized the increasing global demand for oil -- not to mention the subsequent fuel cost hikes that continue to plague budget-conscious consumers. As a result, innovative manufacturers are now prioritizing the creation of gasoline-free vehicles; and according to the Department of Energy, these electric cars are
to constitute 10% of all new car sales nationwide by 2020.
Technological advancements paired with consumer demand have inspired more and more manufacturers to fall in line with electric vehicle production. According to the
, most major auto companies are planning to unveil new electric models in the coming years – a trend that spells good news and great savings opportunities for San Diego commuters. On average, San Diegans drive 12,000 miles per year; and with an average fuel economy rate of 20 miles to the gallon and approximate gasoline cost of $3.70/gallon,that lands each driver with $2,220 in annual gasoline bills alone. By contrast, the electric Nissan Leaf gets 3.5 miles/kWh and charges at the SDG&E off-peak rate of $0.10/kWh – reducing annual fueling costs to only $343, or $6.60 per week.
Pair electric vehicles with solar power systems for maximum savings
The difference in cost between gasoline and electricity may in and of itself be enough to sell some consumers on the notion of electric cars. However, when times are tough, it’s important for buyers to know that they’re getting the best possible deal: and when it comes to transportation costs, pairing an electric car with a solar power system is the best way to reap maximum savings.
San Diego Gas & Electric provides
for solar and electric vehicle owners according to time of use, with the lowest rates falling during off-peak nighttime hours, reduced rates in the afternoon and increased rates throughout the day. Under this system, solar-equipped homeowners sell solar-sourced electricity to SDG&E during peak hours, and then have the opportunity to use off-peak evening hours to charge their electric vehicles – meaning that they only need a solar system that creates half the electricity required by their vehicle to offset its total charging cost. Therefore, a small, 1.2 kW solar system priced at about $4,000 after incentives will cover charging costs for an electric car for up to 40 years.
Electric vehicles can be an effective alternative to conventional, gasoline-powered cars; but at
, we understand that the combined benefits of an electric vehicle and a solar power system bring consumers the greatest possible savings. For over twenty years, we have served San Diego communities by providing affordable, high-quality installations – and today, we are known for our unique ability to blend custom design solutions with maximum consumer benefit. Visit us online to learn more: