In short, yes you can. Your electric car, or EV, can be charged by solar panels is just the same way as all your other domestic appliances can be powered and charged. You don’t even need a huge array – just ten or so panels will do the trick.
You need to work out how much you’ll actually need, though
If you’re adding an EV to your list of chargeable devices, then you need to know that it’s a bit bigger and hungrier than your smartphone… You’ll need to find out its mileage rating. EVs don’t run on diesel (that’s kind of the point) so you don’t get an MPG rating, you get a kilowatt-hours rating – how many kWh it takes for them to drive 100km, usually.
For an EV with a 20kWh per 100km rating and your commute is a round trip of 25 km, then you’ll be using around 5kWh a day or 20kWh a week. This is the amount you need to know your system can deliver without fail, unless you’re happy to top up from the grid now and then,
How big should your system be?
Don’t worry about saving for a huge system sometime in the future, because as soon as you install some size of array, you’ll start saving something. Plus, you can always get a system that accepts add-ons as and when you can afford them. To start with, you should:
Install an oversized inverter
Most installers will suggest an inverter than can only handle the output of your initial array. However, if you think you might need to add on a few more panels to accommodate your EV, then get an inverter that’s aimed at your eventual output.
Alternatively, use microinverters
Microinverters attach to individual solar panels so this makes it much easier to add on more panels to the system without having to change your inverter over.
Install a smaller system just for your car
If you have the space, maybe on your garage or carport, you could add a smaller system solely to power your EV.
Pre-empt the extra demand
You can reduce your demand before you get the car by bringing in appliances that are energy-efficient. Try switching to LEDs, make sure that when you replace appliances like washing machines, toasters and kettles that they have a good energy rating and then bring the car in when you see you have an excess of power most days.