Ford has unveiled an EV concept that leverages the power of the sun to extend the range of its vehicles, and could possibly take some journeys completely off the grid.
Named the C-Max Solar Energi, the new Ford concept discards a hybrid’s usual reserve fuel tank for a solar array built atop the car. Using a 1.5 square meter SunPower X21 solar array, the new C-Max concept will track and magnify the sun’s energy to deliver a four-hour battery charge throughout the daytime hours.
When coupled with the car’s already stellar 108 mpg city performance, the C-Max hybrid is a monumental step toward making most commutes not only fuel-efficient, but completely carbon neutral.
According to Ford engineers, “data suggests the sun could power up to 75 percent of all trips made by an average driver in a solar hybrid vehicle.” What’s more, by driving a C-Max Solar Energi car motorists could reduce their annual greenhouse emissions by four metric tons.
Even though the C-Max Solar Energi is thus far only a concept, the fact that a major auto manufacturer is pushing the boundaries of fuel efficiency beyond the hybrid range is quite inspiring. Without any really pricing behind the vehicle or its delicate rooftop solar array, however, it’s hard to say if Ford is truly dedicated to the Solar Energi concept.
If the automaker is interested in pushing the boundaries of automotive innovation, they’ve certainly come to a great starting point, and I for one would love to see how the C-Max Solar Energi performs on the open road.
Image and Video Courtesy of Ford