U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Vehicle Technologies Office
Ford Debuts Solar Energy Concept Car
January 15, 2014
The Ford Motor Company unveiled on January 2 the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver what a plug-in hybrid offers without depending on the electric grid for fuel. The concept vehicle, shown recently at 2014 International CES, a major consumer electronics conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, is a collaborative project of Ford, the SunPower Corp., and Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology.
Instead of powering its 7.6 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery from an electrical outlet, the Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept can harness the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing and focusing rays onto solar panels on the vehicle roof while the car is parked. The panels use high-efficiency silicon solar cells from SunPower. According to Ford, the concept vehicle takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which draws its power from the electric grid and gets an estimated 92 miles per gallon equivalent on the highway. By using renewable power, the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons. See the Ford press release.