The Ford C-Max Energi is already one of the most-fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) that’s available on the market today. Adding solar power to the package makes it even more efficient!
Like most PHEVs, the Ford C-Max Energi uses a combination of a small gasoline-powered internal combustion engine and electric motors. The electric motors, in turn, are fed by a rechargeable battery pack that’s a little larger than a regular hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), which allows for more electric vehicle (EV) range. To take advantage of this extra battery capacity, the car plugs into an EV charger. Properly managed, a PHEV may never use a drop of gas, significantly reducing emissions.
Of course, when you plug in the Ford C-Max Energi, you’ll generate emissions wherever the electricity is generated, albeit far fewer than gasoline, at least in most places. How about you drop the plug-in act and get a solar panel? That’s exactly what Ford was thinking when they designed a solar-powered roof for the Ford C-Max, although it retains the charging port, in case the sun doesn’t shine. Ford will be showing off the Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, after which it will be tested for feasibility as a production version.
The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept’s solar-panel roof was developed jointly between Ford Motor Company and partner SunPower. The solar panel makes use of Fresnel lenses, which both concentrate the sun’s rays to boost electrical output and eliminate the need for solar tracking. According to Ford, the new system can fully charge the battery pack in a day, the equivalent to the four hours required to charge via EV charging station. This means that, on sunny days, and if you have a 20-mile commute, you could get back and forth to worth without spending a cent on gasoline, a cent on electricity, and generate exactly ZERO emissions.
Image © Ford Motor Company