Solar Powered Concept Cars
Ford used the biggest consumer electronics show of the year to showcase not-yet-ready-for-mass-production technology and the possibilities for renewable energy transportation.
The solar plug-in hybrid crossover, based on Ford’s C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, has 16 square feet (1.5 square meters) of photovoltaic panels built into the roof.
Even with a full day of blazing sunlight, the eight-kilowatt-capacity panels wouldn’t capture enough energy to fully charge the car’s lithium-ion battery. So Ford, along with the Georgia Institute of Technology, developed a flat acrylic lens to stand over the car in a canopy that can marshal sunlight from a larger area. The lens would act like a magnifying glass and concentrate sunlight onto the car, boosting solar uptake eightfold. It would take about seven hours of sunlight to fully charge the battery, which could then power the car for an estimated 21 miles (33.8 kilometers) before a gas engine kicks in.
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