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Ford Offering Solar Charger for Focus Electric

Getting off the grid won’t come cheap.

by on Aug.18, 2011

Ford will let California buyers of the Focus Electric charge up using solar power.

Those looking to buy the new Ford Focus Electric, when it begins a slow roll-out later this year, will have a chance to go even greener by adding an optional solar charging system, the carmaker says.

Ford is partnering with Silicon Valley’s largest supplier of solar power arrays, SunPower Corp., to provide a 2.5 kilowatt rooftop charging system that could replenish a drained lithium-ion battery pack in about 10 hours.

Skeptics have often complained that battery cars aren’t as clean as proponents claim, since they still have to get their power from utilities that might use coal or other fossil fuels.  The news means dedicated greenies can disconnect from the grid entirely – at least when it comes to charging up the Ford Focus Electric, which will yield more than 80 miles per charge.

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But cutting the electric company out of the picture won’t come cheap.  While Ford and SunPower are offering a deep discount of more than 40% off the normal price tag, the rooftop system will still cost $10,000 after receiving a federal tax credit.

Were a motorist to need to fully charge a Focus Electric from the grid each day it would cost about $10 a week, so the payback period for the SunPower system would be about 20 years.