Ford Motor Co. has announced it will be debuting a Ford C-max Energi Solar concept plug-in hybrid vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.
Ford thinks the C-max Energi Solar concept is a way to free vehicles from the need to plug into a wall socket to recharge. Solar panels on top of the vehicles roof capture energy from the sun’s rays and recharge the plug-in’s battery pack.
However, the solar panels can only capture enough energy to charge up the battery to about 1/8th full during the day, which is enough to travel approximately 3 miles on electric powered driving.
Mike Tinskey, Ford’s director of vehicle electrification, says that while solar panel technology has been improving, “even if we put them on the hood, you still couldn’t recharge the battery enough.”
Ford has developed a special contraption that can be installed above a parking space that redirects sunlight from the whole canopy area onto the solar panels of the vehicle. The canopy can also automatically re-angle itself to capture the most rays from the sun. Funny enough, Ford says this “eliminates the challenge of having to install a charging station in a parking lot.” Yes, instead, install a huge, complex canopy over each parking spot and achieve partial recharges. Sorry.
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