Solar Powered Electric Vehicle Cost Comparison Map

What would it take to power your EV with a residential solar PV system?

As more and more people make the switch to an electric vehicle, it is worth considering the longterm additional savings when you power that EV with a residential solar PV system. In most states, solar electricity is now cheaper than electricity from the local utility. See what you can save where you live, per 100 miles driven, if you powered one of the five leading electric vehicles, whether it is the BMW i3, Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, or the Tesla Model S or Model X, with a 5 kW solar system.

Release Date: January 2017

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2016 Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S 90D 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X 90D 2016

2017 BMW i3

BMW i3 BEV 2017

2017 Nissan Leaf

Nissan Leaf 2017

2017 Chevrolet Bolt

Chevrolet Bolt 2017

Click to read about our methodology.
  • Objective: To determine the cost savings of charging various electric vehicles with a residential solar PV system, compared to charging without one (i.e. purchasing the required electricity from the utility) and compared to using an average vehicle with gasoline.
  • Analysis assumptions:
  • The 2017 BMW i3 BEV assumes a 60 Amp-hour battery.
  • Solar electricity estimates are determined using solar radiation values for state capitals from Sunmetrix Discover.
  • Solar generation figures are based on an average-sized residential solar PV system of 5 kW that is operational for 25 years.
  • The default PV installation cost is estimated to be $3.50/watt (not including the 30% federal tax credit).
  • Financing costs are not included - this analysis assumes an outright purchase of the solar PV system.
  • Maintenance costs of the residential solar PV system are estimated to be 10% of the initial cost of installation.
  • Where available, state-based solar tax credits were also included in the levelized cost calculations (other incentives, such as performance payments or property tax exemptions, are not included).
  • Utility rates are based on the monthly residential rate data set as reported by the EIA and are averages computed using the last available 12 months in the dataset. Latest Utility Rates: .
  • Vehicle fuel economy data is from the U.S. Department of Energy (www.fueleconomy.gov).
  • The average fuel economy of a 2017 vehicle is 26 MPG according to the U.S. Department of Energy (www.fueleconomy.gov).
  • Monthly average retail (regular) gasoline prices are from the EIA for December 2016.
  • Financial estimates don't include the cost of financing the EV.
  • Solar-powered EV savings per 100 miles >$8.50 $8.00 $7.50 $7.00 $6.50 $6.00 $5.50 $5.00 <$5.00

    Cost of Residential Solar Power

    $3.50 per Watt

    Cost of driving Tesla Model S 100 miles: