Tesla’s latest move is a new feature for folks who’ve seriously bought into its ecosystem.
Tesla drivers with home solar and a Powerwall charger now have an in-app option to exclusively charge up their vehicle via excess solar energy.
The automaker started rolling out the setting in May, under a rather idyllic name: Drive on Sunshine. The setting is now more straightforwardly dubbed “Charge on Solar; it’s available to folks in the U.S. and Canada with newer Teslas (2021 and on). The option looks like this:
The rise of electric vehicles and the ubiquity of solar panels have prompted countless dreamers to suspect that the two technologies will converge.
The solar-powered car as we know it dates back to the 1950s with GM’s Sunmobile, a modded Corvette that reportedly captured enough solar energy to roll across a stage at a Chicago autoshow. Cars with solar roofs have come a long way since then (see: efforts by Lightyear, Fisker, Karma, Toyota and even Tesla), but such solar-roofed vehicles still aren’t hitting roads in serious numbers.
In the meantime, Tesla has long facilitated solar-powered charging via home solar panels and chargers, and the automaker’s Charge on Solar feature seems to offer select drivers another degree of control over how they recharge.