Ford’s Focus Electric partnership creating the solar garage

Buyers of the 2012 Ford Focus Electric may be singing a new hit tune titled Driving Green for Life, if they buy into the deal the automaker has worked out with SunPower to install a rooftop solar system that will power the car up to 1,000 miles per month – no emissions, no coal-burning utility power consumed!

"Under the 'Drive Green for Life' program, Focus Electric owners can reduce their total cost of ownership by generating enough energy from their high efficiency SunPower rooftop solar system to offset the electricity required to charge the vehicle at night," said Mike Tinskey, Ford director of Global Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure. "It's an eco-friendly solution that perfectly complements our plug-in products and other green initiatives."

The rooftop solar system utilizes SunPower’s 2.5 kilowatt E18 Series solar panels, producing about 3,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. These solar panels generate approximately 50 percent more electricity than conventional panels and take up less area on the roof. The system should provide all the electric power needed to charge the Focus Electric to a customer who drives about 1,000 miles per month.

"SunPower's innovative partnership with Ford is a win-win for customers, providing a comprehensive sustainability program," said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. "By taking advantage of this program, Focus Electric customers can receive the added benefit of installing a SunPower solar system, the highest-efficiency, most reliable on the market today, generating the electricity needed to charge their vehicles."

Focus Electric buyers who sign up will be contacted by a participating SunPower affiliate who will visit their home to begin the installation process. SunPower is a leader the industry with more than 400 outlets in the U.S. and is ready to support the Focus Electric roll out in all 19 markets.

The SunPower rooftop solar system will be compatible with the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid Ford is bringing to market in 2012.

In January, Ford announced an agreement with consumer electronics leader Best Buy to offer a 240-volt home charging station for the Focus Electric and future electric vehicle owners.

"The goal of working with both SunPower and Best Buy was to offer Focus Electric owners solutions to charging needs that help lower the vehicle's overall cost of ownership," said Tinskey.

Think about your current car and how much you've spent on gas since you bought it. If you had it a few years you've certainly spent at least $10,000 on gas – unless it's a high-mileage commuter or a hybrid. So spend that much on a rooftop solar system, buy an electric car and never buy another drop of gasoline again. Well maybe a little for your lawnmower out of a sense of nostalgia.

Forget the stock market – the automotive future is so bright you should invest in shades – sunglasses, that is, and maybe a nice electric vehicle with a solar garage.

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