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Tesla Electric Car Plus Solar Power Equals Zero-Cost Driving (Video)


2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

2011 Tesla Roadster Sport. Photo by Joe Nuxoll.

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Almost every Tesla Roadster owner is probably a car enthusiast, but Mike Koenigs is also a true clean-power activist.

First, he set up a “Life with Tesla” website when he got his car.

Now he's doing the final editing of an extended video meant to spread the word about the fun and freedom that comes with owning an all-electric car, in his case a Tesla Roadster.

Mike should copyright the phrase he has highlights on his website--the “Tesla Grin"--which he illustrates on the faces of his passengers on demonstration rides. It's something very special.

Mike’s message is that the Tesla Roadster is a great thrill to drive, even to ride in as a passenger, and that with photovoltaic solar panels on one’s home, driving can be free of day-to-day fuel costs.

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with roof solar panels visible; photo by George Parrott

2011 Nissan Leaf and 2011 Chevy Volt, with roof solar panels visible; photo by George Parrott

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As highlighted in a recent Consumer Reports piece, the strategy that really pays off in owning an electric vehicle is to have a significantly large photovoltaic system at your home.

It should be noted, however, that even with solar panels to provide all your energy (or energy credits) to charge a Tesla Roadster, that car's required regular “tune-ups” are around $1000 per year!

This synergy between electric vehicles and solar electric panels is updated daily at Christof Demont-Heinrich’s website  which is devoted to exactly this topic.

Basically even if we don’t have the discretionary funds to afford a Tesla Roadster, many of us can live as Mike does. The Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi “i,” and other plug-in-cars cost far less than the Tesla did. Adding solar panels to a home gives us the equivalent of our own oil well and oil refinery together.

Mike says that between the electricity he uses in his home and to power his Tesla, he'll pay back the five-figure cost of his solar panels in less than five years.

Perhaps few of us can enjoy the “Tesla grin,” but Mike’s broader message doesn't require a Tesla--just a car that plugs into the wall for its power.

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Comments (7)
  1. The beginning of something great! Mike Koenigs and others are true pioneers.
     
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  2. I'm preparing to install a solar array on the home I'm building. This guy got raped if he spent $24,000 for a measely 3.5KW solar array, and doubtless one without the efficiencies of microinverters. You folks out there interested in solar arrays, believe me, you can install these panels yourself and hook them up and connect to your breaker box and use net metering, available everywhere. I've bought panels far better than the obsolete ones he's got at $1.55 per watt,
    for a 6KW system (can harvest more than twice his)
    plus micros, for less than $14K. And will get a $6,000
    Fed tax break. Over 20 years, my solar generated power
    will cost less than 4 cents per kilowatthour. Don't get ripped off like he did - do it yourself. The law allows it
     
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  3. Koenig's solar array is the prefect example of why being an early adopter is nearly always motivated by ego and really bad economics. In 4 years time, my array will have avoided more carbon emissions than his has in 8 years and will
    emit half as much as his every year thereafter. To equal the performance of my array , he would have had to spend almost $50K. I've spent $8K.
    Early adopters : spending lots to impress the neighbors doesn't often end up being a move that would impress anyone that can think
     
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  4. In defense of Mike Koenigs and his solar array....What one pays for a solar panel system depends in part on where one lives. Some states have very impressive state rebates. Further, for those of us without the technical skill to install such hardware our self (and really few do have those skills), the costs for getting a system installed are not trivial. Yes, early adopters always pay more; remember when a 50" flat screen, even at 720p, cost over $6000, it was only about 7 years ago. Now such technology can be had for under $900. Is that stupid to have bought early? Not in my mind, as then one can be enjoying the technology longer. Going solar PV reduces our drain on the power grid, and that is always good.
     
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  5. @Ramon,
    But further, congratulations on doing your own house and planning such an impressive, micro-inverter, solar PV system. I am impressed with how large your PV system will be; our house is 3000 square feet and two story (that is our house pictured in the article), and our initial 3.7 kW PV system totally wiped out our annual electric cost. I installed a second 1.4 kW system in anticipation of the two electric cars (as seen in the garage), and we will have ZERO annual electricity charges for this year, even with charging both cars !
     
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  6. First, George, thanks for the mention of SolarChargedDriving.Com :-)

    Second, Ramon, without early adopters biting the bullet, there would be no drop in the prices of goods such as solar panels. There's always a curve on price, with early adopters typically paying most, late adopters, who learn by following early adopters, the least.

    Our neighbors just went solar this year, inspired in part by our own "expensive" early adoption last year.

    George is right about variability in costs for home solar based on location. Our 5.59 kW professionally installed system cost just $8,000 out of pocket thanks to a generous utility rebate, the Federal Tax Credit, and a City of Aurora, Colo. special rebate.
     
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  7. Yep, Plug In America has been calling it the "EV Grin" for years! I've been living the EV/PV life since 2002: EV for you know what, and PV for photovoltaic. Go Mike! And go Christof, the first and only to devote an entire website to the topic. It's our future!
     
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