How SOLAR makes all the difference RIDING ELECTRIC (cars)

I think I should start using chat GPT or other generative AI to create blog titles, it’ll likely do better than me. But that’s not what this article is about.

I’ve made posts about TCO or Total Cost of Ownership of riding electric versus internal combustion engine powered motorcycles. Conclusion almost always came down to how it only makes sense to try to safe money riding electric if you do a lot of mileage. When I switched I was doing 30.000 - 35.000 km every year on my current motorcycle. I was comparing expensive ICE motorcycles with expensive EV ones. To recap, this was the conclusion in numbers:

Bike/Cost: BMW R1200 GS LC  Energica SS9+

Acq. Cost        20.846,01      25.495,00      EUR/once  

Running Cost          9,28           2,70      EUR/100 km
Service Cost          3,94           1,79      EUR/100 km

Total Cost           13,22           4,49      EUR/100 km

Acquisition and service costs haven’t changed since. What did change was the running cost since back then I had no solar and paid 0,24 EUR per kWh. I even calculated above numbers with 0,30 EUR/kWh since not everyone gets the same price and that seemed like a valid average. With a properly sized PV installation you simply drop that cost in advantage of the electric transport.

And yes I realise that solar installation also costs money. And though it really isn’t that expensive anymore, just for an electric motorcycle I wouldn’t do it. To understand that statement we need to check the monthly electric consumption of our EV, and that will be different for everyone. Mine is around 100 kWh for the bike per month. Or with an average of 30 days per month only 3,33 kWh daily… Just not enough to get a solar installation for that alone.

We however have other numbers for our other electric transport. Our family car is a Mercedes EQV with a 90 kWh battery pack (usable!). And since having that car our monthly bills have been quite a lot higher. Not as crazy as our fuel bills were in the past but still a lot. Here is a view of our monthly consumption for the car charger alone last year (2022). We have a smappee car charger with load balancing so these numbers are easy to grab.

The average consumed per month was 882,65 kWh which translates to 211,83 EUR monthly given our cost of 0.24 EUR/kWh. Reason enough to get a solar installation. An installation that should generate around 885/30 = 29,5 kWh a day. Again the (private) solar regulations in your country will be different, in our case we are limited to 10 kWp inverters. So we just got that combined with 15 kWp in panels. Here is a short video of how that looks on the roof (minus 1 panel that was damaged and later replaced).

Now this installation isn’t perfect (yet?). We have 2 separate 5 kWp inverters that are linked to half of each roof section to optimize production. In reality we can only get above 5 kW inverted when we have a heavy load (like a car charging) in our home. If not one of the inverters will go into error cause the grid can’t take it. This is an issue with the grid, not with our home or installation.

We have multiple EVs so I imagine we will be able to have one connected all the time. But still we also have backwards running grid counters and because of this defect we can’t optimize our production. It’s too soon to give production numbers or comparisons of how much cheaper riding electric became. Let alone how fast this will pay for itself.

At 211 EUR electricity cost for the car alone and a cost of around 12k for the solar install it should all pay for itself in less than 5 years. And the good news is that it might be faster if we manage to produce more than we consume. But again it’s too soon for any conclusions. Once I have a few months of solar numbers collected I’ll get back to this.

1 Comment on “How SOLAR makes all the difference RIDING ELECTRIC (cars)

  1. Interesting! I’d be curious to see a followup post where you’ve managed to gather and work with the solar power production numbers too.
    Kinda going the same way over here, just a bit smaller: we’ve got a solar setup with battery and I’m about to add an electric motorcycle, but only got less than a year of data on the solar setup. Next step will be looking into a good smart charger solution from which data can be easily exported. (PS: Looks like we are visiting the same dealer , happy to catch up on some of your experiences with both Zero and Energica, and even the XSR900 in real life. Feel free to drop me a message via email anytime!)

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