RICHMOND (KCBS) – A Silicon Valley based solar manufacturer is teaming up with Ford Motor Company to install rooftop systems specifically designed to offset the cost of charging an electric vehicle.

Ford is the first automaker to offer the option to car buyers and plans to launch five electric vehicles in the US and Europe over the next two years.

KCBS’ Anna Duckworth:

The company’s Mike Tinskey said research shows electric vehicle customers are likely to be solar customers, and this led to the first-of-its-kind partnership with San Jose-based SunPower.

“Instead of the conventional approach, which is solar systems are sized, custom for your home, we’ve said well why don’t we work together with our partner to actually make a system that’s for a car and sized for your vehicle,” Tinskey said.

The systems will be available as options at dealerships when the 20-12 Focus Electric goes on sale later this year.

SunPower CEO Tom Werner said the system will cost less than $10,000 after the federal tax credit, and car buyers will make up the amount through saved electricity costs.

“They’re going to take that monthly bill which in many cases is $100, $200 a month and make it zero. So the math actually works,” he said.

“If you spend $10,000, the savings will more than offset that.”

The system is sized to provide enough power for a vehicle to go about one-thousand miles a month.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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