COLCHESTER, Vt. –The phrase, ‘Hit the gas,’ does not quite work with this car. In some vehicles, it is more about soaking up the sun.

Adam Bentz has bought into a solar power plan by Sun Common, a power company focused on supplying solar energy. Most of his energy use — including at home — comes from the sun. “It’ll pay about 80 percent of our actual electricity,” Bentz said. He plans to power his Nissan Leaf with that energy by plugging in at home.

Clary Franko of Sun Common says the coupling of solar energy with electric cars makes them more environmentally friendly. “This event is all around the really smart pairing of solar power with electric vehicles,” Franko said. “It’s like locking in your rate of $1 per gallon of gasoline.”

Representative Diane Lanpher (D-Vergennes) supported a new agreement that will put more electric cars on the road by 2025. “We have a very ambitious plan with these eight other states to put 3.3 million cars on the road, electric vehicles or zero-emissions vehicles,” Rep. Lanpher said.

Despite the overcast skies, the appropriately-named SUN Carnival hosted 17 zero-emissions vehicles at St. Michael’s College in Colchester. Armand Messier said his decision to buy an electric car was the best choice he’s made. Messier’s vehicle can go between 75 to 100 miles on a charge. Consumers can buy power from one of Sun Common’s solar arrays then transfer that power to their home or vehicle. Bentz’ car even has a solar panel built in to keep the black leather interior cool. “It has a couple of fans that it runs that cools the car,” Bentz said.

The price of installing solar panels can be high, and the power cannot be stored indefinitely. You might hear the cars called ‘The ride of tomorrow,’ but Representative Diane Lanpher says their time is now. “It is going to be very, very important going forward to linking our solar as that renewable energy source with our drive electric vehicles,” Lanpher said.

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