Electric Vehicles and Solar: A Match Made in Heaven

Powering your home with electricity generated from the sun's rays is becoming more cost effective every day. But the real revolution may be that it's increasingly attractive to power your car with the sun as well.

People often mistakenly compare solar power to oil or gasoline when talking about the cost of energy; when it's really more accurately compared to grid electricity. But if you're looking to go off the grid, vehicle included, solar is an attractive option. As a result, the number of automakers teaming up with solar companies has ramped up recently.

Driving with solar power
Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) is leading the charge in making its vehicles solar compatible. The company is building a network of free supercharger stations that will give drivers a 150-mile range in just a half hour. When the network is complete in two years, a Tesla owner will be able to drive from Los Angeles to New York without spending a dime on fuel.  

The company has teamed up with another business controlled by Elon Musk, SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) , to offer a complete off-grid product for consumers who want to get all of their fuel from the sun. SolarCity and Tesla are a natural fit given their common majority owner and how complementary their businesses can be to each other.

SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR  ) and Nissan have also teamed up to provide LEAF owners with education and systems that will provide solar power. The solar company has also teamed up with Ford (NYSE: F  ) to offer the "Drive Green for Life" program to Ford Focus Electric customers.

Pacts between solar companies and car companies may not seem like a natural fit at first, but they have a lot of consumers in common, so it's really a match made in heaven.

A natural fit
At this early stage in both the electric vehicle and solar cycle the two industries complement each other well. A consumer spending more on an electric vehicle because of its environmental friendliness is the same kind of consumer who will install solar. Adding solar to an electric vehicle will only make it more attractive to most buyers, especially since many solar leasing programs by SolarCity and SunPower allow no money down.

The real impact for these industries will come as they begin to build complementary networks both in and out of the home. I think there will be a convergence of solar and electric vehicle installers in coming years; it may come from some surprising places.

SolarCity is a natural fit for electric vehicles. While installers are putting in a home solar system they can add a 240-volt charger in the garage. The same electricians can do the work for both systems.

But the bigger surprise may be the role Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) could play. Best Buy has partnered with Ford to offer branded charging stations and support to customers. They line up the electrician and equipment, no effort needed from the customer. This is in addition to a multitude of other chargers the company sells, and also follows an attempt by the company to sell electric motorcycles. Why can't solar be next?

One of the most intimidating aspects of solar is that consumers can rarely touch and feel the products they'll be installing before they have workers on their roofs. Best Buy could change that, offering comparison pricing, physical displays, and even the technology to get a quote on the spot.

Electric vehicles and solar are converging in many ways and Best Buy may be a big player in both in the future.

Foolish bottom line
The technology behind both solar energy and electric vehicles continues to get better. As they grow, these two emerging technologies will complement one another, building new sales channels for each other. Companies that can build the partnerships necessary -- like SunPower, SolarCity, and Tesla -- will have the best chance to thrive in this new energy world.

A deep dive into Tesla Motors
Near-faultless execution has led Tesla Motors to the brink of success, but the road ahead remains a hard one. Despite progress, a looming question remains: Will Tesla be able to fend off its big-name competitors? The Motley Fool answers this question and more in our most in-depth Tesla research available for smart investors like you. Thousands have already claimed their own premium ticker coverage, and you can gain instant access to your own by clicking here now.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (3)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2297151, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 9/21/2014 10:41:00 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement