Running an Electric Car on Solar Energy
One of the most common questions we are asked is: can I run my car on solar energy?
It seems to be the logical next step for electric vehicle owners to want to power their cars in the cleanest way possible – ideally from solar electricity produced on their own roof. Replacing a petrol or diesel vehicle with an EV already removes local particulate emissions and reduces CO2 emissions by 50%. But why not go one step further and run your car with zero particulates and zero carbon impact?
Introducing the Zappi
The trick of course, is to divert solar electricity into the car battery and this requires a specialised EV charging point. The recently launched Zappi, from myenergi, allows this. It takes excess solar electricity that would otherwise be exported back to the grid, and diverts it into the EV battery. That’s good news from an electric vehicle point of view – it’s now running off zero carbon electricity. But it’s also good news from a solar point of view – the generated electricity is now used rather than disappearing out the front door. That means you don’t have to import electricity to charge the car, which equals bill savings and better economics on your PV system.
The Zappi operates in a similar way to devices that divert excess solar to put into hot water, which have existed for many years (indeed myenergi’s background is in this area). However, diverting solar electricity into EVs offsets dirty grid electricity, offering substantial carbon savings. Diverting solar electricity into hot water offsets (relatively) clean gas in 90% of cases. So from an environmental perspective it is better to divert excess solar into a vehicle than into hot water.
Obviously for this to be a sensible idea, you will need your car to be parked at home during the day when the solar is generating. We were pleasantly surprised to see the National Household Travel Survey reporting that 41% of vehicles are at home during the day. That’s a substantial proportion of electric vehicle owners that could benefit from a Zappi unit.
OLEV Approved Installers of the Zappi
We are now OLEV approved installers of the Zappi EV charger, which means you can access the grants available for installing EV chargepoints. It offers variable charging from 6 to 32A, and smart tariff sensing, so if you need to top up from the grid it can be done as cheaply as possible.
The grander picture is that we are seeing the solar energy, battery storage and electric vehicle sectors come together. People who own one of these technologies are now looking at the other two, whilst physical devices such as the Zappi are enabling solar energy to provide mobility, not just powering your lights and appliances.