Martin Eberhard calls it "Solar Synergy" — his own phrase for the benefits derived from having an electric car and a home that's powered by solar photovoltaics. Eberhard was a founder of Tesla and he just received his shiny new Founders' Series Roadster. It's an incredible car, don't you think? Eberhard explains the synergistic benefits to having a 5.2 kW photovoltaic system (dead link removed) and all-electric Tesla Roadster (dead link removed).
Using back-of-the envelope figures, Eberhard estimates the payback of his solar PV system is about 25 years, not counting inflation, present value of money, or potential for home appreciation.
However, catch this, by using energy provided by the solar PV system to power the car, which minimizes the need to pay for expensive gasoline, he puts the payback on his solar PV system at about 9.5 years.
What's more, Eberhard is powering his home and car using energy generated from the sun. For the most part, as far as I can tell, he's not using coal, natural gas, or any other fossil fuels to power the home or fuel up his sporty Roadster.
Indeed, the fueling station of the future looks like it will be in the home garage. Notice the pump on the wall of the garage. That's what our future will look like — it's not that far away.
Photo credits: Martin Eberhard.