Skip to content

Ford Lets The Sun Shine With The C-MAX Solar Energi

Things are hotting up in the race to find viable alternatively fuelled cars. Mass market car makers like Volkswagen and BMW are joining the electric car market, increasing competition and pushing the technology forward. Plug-in hybrids are becoming more common but now Ford is set to unveil a new type of hybrid that doesn't need plugged in at all.

Things are hotting up in the race to find viable alternatively fuelled cars. Mass market car makers like Volkswagen and BMW are joining the electric car market, increasing competition and pushing the technology forward. Plug-in hybrids are becoming more common but now Ford is set to unveil a new type of hybrid that doesn't need plugged in at all. Later this month at the leading international technology show, CES, in Las Vegas, Ford will display the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept car. The car apparently offers similar performance to that of a plug-in hybrid but derives its electrical power from the sun instead of a mains socket.

Ford's solar C-MAX utilises a standard petrol engine alongside some new technology that causes the car's solar roof panels to behave like a magnifying glass in concentrating the power of the sun. Ford says that the result is a combined mileage figure of 100 miles per gallon. The Detroit giant also points out that their solar hybrid is greener than the plug-in version. Motorists tend to forget that the electricity they use to charge their electric cars is not in itself green. Most of the power gained from the mains is created by burning hydrocarbons in power stations. The Solar C-MAX, on the other hand, does not use this electricity source, creating its own power from the sun instead. In this way it saves an estimated four tonnes of CO2 per year.

Ford is a leader in alternatively fuelled vehicles and sold around 85,000 electric and hybrid cars during 2013. This included more than 6,000 C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrids, the car which the new solar C-MAX would replace. The technology to concentrate the sun's rays was invented at the Georgia Institute of Technology. It utilises special lenses that concentrate energy from light but are far slimmer than normal lenses. A sunny day results in power equivalent to a four hour charge from the mains, or around eight kilowatts.

When used in tandem with its petrol engine, the Solar C-MAX will have a range of around 620 miles, which is much the same as the plug-in hybrid C-MAX. The concept version of the solar car also comes with a plug-in port to allow the car to be charged normally from the mains. According to Ford, around 75% of all journeys driven by the average motorists could be powered solely by the car's solar power. After making its appearance at CEC in Las Vegas in January, the solar powered car will be extensively tested by Ford to confirm whether it is a realistic prospect for mass production.

 

Posted by on

Back to January 2014

Back to top