Chevrolet Volt

This story should be enough to – at the very least – give Chevrolet Volt detractors pause: a solar-powered home that pays its owner delicious double dividends.

An Orlando, FL man used the cash from selling solar-panel-generated electricity back to the grid as a down payment for his Chevrolet Volt extended-range plug-in vehicle and he's using the power from the panels to fuel the sedan, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

Bob Stonerock used the $5,600 he made during the past two years selling power generated from his roof and backyard solar panels back to the Orlando Utilities Commission as a down payment for his $46,000 Volt. Stonerock, a retired doctor, estimates that he will be able to fuel the car almost exclusively from the electricity from the solar panels that power his vehicle-recharging station.

Stonerock is one of the more than 15,000 Americans who will attempt to replace at least most of their gasoline use with electricity by purchasing vehicles such as either the Volt or battery-electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i. Through the first eleven months of the year, General Motors sold just over 6,100 Volts – compared to about 8,700 Nissan Leafs – though both vehicles were constrained by limited supply for at least some of the year.

The Chevy Volt can go about 35 miles on electric power alone before a gas-powered on-board generator kicks in to provide an additional 340 miles or so on a full tank. In November, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy named the Volt the fourth-most fuel-efficient vehicle sold in the United States. The federal agencies' latest edition of their Fuel Economy Guide rates the Volt at 60 miles per gallon of gasoline equivalent, which trailed only the Mitsubishi i, Nissan Leaf and Ford Transit Connect Electric battery-electric vehicles.