LAS VEGAS - Ford revealed the C-MAX Solar Energi concept at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January. Boasting the ability to charge its battery using solar panels on the roof, C-MAX Solar Energi previews a life of clean, efficient electric transportation with significantly less reliance on the electrical grid.
During CES, Mike Tinskey, global director, Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure, shared important information about this progressive concept with @Ford.
Q. This car is a concept, but is it (the prototype) fully functional?
A. Yes, the C-MAX Energi featured at CES is our development vehicle with functional energy producing solar panels supplied by SunPower, one of Ford’s solar technology partners. In fact, this vehicle is slated to be tested in real-world scenarios for everyday use.
Q. How long does it take to obtain a full-charge using only solar power?
A. We designed the system to produce enough energy to charge the C-MAX Energi battery in six to seven hours of sunlight. The patent-pending system tracks the sun as it moves from east to west, drawing enough power from the sun daily to equal an 8 kilowatt hours of battery charge.
Q. Once charged, is the expected range and performance equal to the standard C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid?
A. The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept delivers the same vehicle power and performance as the conventional C-MAX with the only difference being that the battery is charged by the sun rather than the grid.
The C-MAX Energi delivers up to 21 miles of all-electric power on one full charge and can drive up to 620 miles on one full tank of gas and a full charge. Internal Ford data suggest the sun could power up to 75 percent of all trips made by an average driver in a solar hybrid vehicle.
Q. Does the concept also plug-in for charging if a owner wants to use a charge port?
A. The C-MAX Solar Energi still has a charge port and can be charged by connecting to a charging station via cord and plug if desired.
Q. Why will the technology behind this concept be exciting for consumers?
A. When silicon solar was invented in the 1950s, it only converted about 3 percent of sunlight into electricity. Now we are seeing 21 percent efficiency and price points that have decreased more than 40 percent since 2011. These progressions make the technology more accessible.
Also, this project shows Ford is working to promote vehicle electrification by minimizing or obsoleting one of the barriers to mass adoption of electric vehicles – the reliance on electric grid infrastructure.
Q. Would it be reasonable to assume this kind of vehicle will be available someday?
A. Yes. While today it is a concept, we will be testing the vehicles prototype in real-world scenarios later this year to further evaluate it for potential future production
Q. As concepts do, this one lets us dream a little about the possibilities future vehicle technology may deliver. What is your dream transportation scenario?
A. One-hundred seventy four Petawatts of solar energy hits our earth’s surface every day – energy equivalent to nearly 90 million hoover dams. Yet we only harness a fraction of this clean and “free” energy source. Alan Mulally commonly quotes Henry Ford as opening the highways to all of mankind…wouldn’t it be ideal if Ford could write the next chapter and to while securing our energy future?
Q. Is this dream feasible?
A. C-MAX Solar Energi is just one example of many efforts within the company that can lead us to an energy-secured future. If we work together, Ford can lead the way on sustainability and environmental leadership and open the low-carbon highways to all of mankind. Yes…. this dream is feasible.
Add call out: The concept vehicle delivers up to 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined.
The concept vehicle delivers up to 108 MPGe city, 92 MPGe highway and 100 MPGe combined.