Car dealerships have been catching a lot of flack for fighting against Tesla’s direct sales model and not selling plug-in cars effectively, but there are plenty of dealers out there trying to go green and do good by the environment. Ford announced a new pilot program this week to install wind and solar power systems on four of its dealerships, offsetting over 50 tons of carbon annually.
At the heart of the pilot program is a Wind Energy Corporation “Windy” turbine with Ford-emblazoned sails rotating in the gentle breeze. Along with a 7 kWh solar array, this energy will be used to power ceiling lights and electric car chargers, generating some 20,000 kWh of energy every year. This will reduce the carbon footprint of each dealer by 14 tons of CO2 every year, or about 56 tons combined, and produce enough energy to either power two average American homes or recharge the 23 kWh battery of the Ford Focus Electric some 870 times.
Ford tapped four participating dealers to take part in the program; Dana Ford Lincoln in Staten Island, New York; Tom Holzer Ford in Farmington Hills, Michigan; and two dealers in California: The Ford Store in Morgan Hill, and Fiesta Ford in Indio. Ford selected these companies based on their plug-in car sales and commitments to alternative energy. Ford itself has embarked on a major efficiency campaign, including $25 million in LED lights and the second-largest solar-powered carport in the MidWest.
Car dealers across the country have actually placed themselves at the vanguard of going green in a number of different ways. A New Jersey Honda dealer, for example, uses zero net energy thanks to efficiency techniques and a huge solar power array, and in Canada the Chevy Volt makes up 35% of one Chevy dealer’s sales, just because they took the time to do so.
Ford’s pilot program is hopefully the first step towards a nationwide effort to get its dealers to go green, with installation of the wind and solar arrays to begin early next year.