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Let the Sun In — Ford’s Solar PHEV

January 3, 2014 in EVs, New Products by Rich Piellisch  |  No Comments

‘Off the Grid’ Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept to Debut in Las Vegas,
With Low-Cost ‘Static Canopy’ Used to Concentrate the Rays of the Sun

Ford will unveil a solar-powered plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week. It’s “a concept vehicle that takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid,” Ford says. this item was initially posted on January 2

“The C-Max Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to panels on the vehicle’s roof.’

“The C-Max Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to panels on the vehicle’s roof,’ Ford says. The concentrator would also track the sun during the course of a day for optimum energy concentration.

Acrylic fresnel lenses would focus the sun’s energy at much lower cost than a photovoltaic array large enough to charge a vehicle.

“We’re proposing a static canopy,” Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure Mike Tinskey explains in a company video. It’s “a combination of vehicle plus infrastructure,” he says – low-cost infrastructure.

The concentrator “acts like a magnifying glass,” Ford says, “directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof.”

With the canopy, the vehicle’s modest battery – the all-electric range of the C-Max Energi is about 20 miles – can charge in as little as six hours of sunlight.

Post-CES, ‘Real-World’ Tests

The patent-pending system tracks the sun, Ford says, drawing enough power through the concentrator each day to equal a four-hour battery charge (8 kilowatts). The system was developed with Ford solar partner SunPower and researchers at Georgia Tech.

Cloudy? Dark? Plug it in.

Cloudy? Dark? Plug it in.

The C-Max Solar Energi Concept “shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy,”  Tinskey says in a release.

“We want to further the public dialog about the art of the possible in moving the world toward a cleaner future,” he said.

‘The sun could power up to 75% of all trips made by an average driver in a solar hybrid vehicle,’ Ford says.

The 2014 International CES runs January 7-10 at venues including the Las Vegas Convention Center, where Ford is at Booth 2222 (North Hall).

After the show, Ford says, it will begin testing the vehicle with Georgia Tech “in numerous real-world scenarios… The outcome of those tests will help to determine if the concept is feasible as a production car.”

Tests will involve charging the C-Max Solar Energi Concept car with and without the fresnel lens canopy, according to Prof. Bert Bras of the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering at Georgia Tech. One challenge is heat build-up, he told F&F.

85,000 Ford Electrified Vehicles for 2013?

Ford says its expects a 2013 tally of 85,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles for 2013 – the first full year of availability for its six new electrified vehicles.

C-Max Energi is Ford’s plug-in sales leader, with sales of more than 6,300 through November.

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Source: Ford with Fleets & Fuels follow-up

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