Ford will show off a solar-powered concept vehicle at next week’s CES in Las Vegas, the car maker announced today.
The Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept “harnesses the power of the sun,” via solar panels on the car’s roof, Ford said. “A special concentrator … acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof.”
As a result, drivers can rely on solar power rather than the electric grid to power their vehicle. A day’s worth of sunlight will provide the same performance one would expect from the plug-in hybrid version of the C-MAX Energi, Ford said.
“Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy,” Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure, said in a statement. “As an innovation leader, we want to further the public dialog about the art of the possible in moving the world toward a cleaner future.”
Ford teamed up with San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Corp. and Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology for the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept. Ford has worked with SunPower since 2011, and the company will provide high-efficiency solar cells for the car’s roof. The Georgia Institute of Technology has been working on “a way to amplify the sunlight in order to make a solar-powered hybrid feasible for daily use.”
After the car makes its debut at CES, Ford and Georgia Tech will start testing the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept out on the road to determine if it makes sense to mass produce the vehicle.
Ford expects the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept to get the same range as the existing C-MAX Energi – up to 620 miles or 21 electric-only miles. The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept will still include a charging port in case you run out of sun juice. Ford also said the solar-powered car could reduce yearly CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average U.S. car owner by as much as four metric tons.
Ford’s C-MAX brand has been around for about a decade, but arrived in the U.S. with hybrid and plug-in hybrid models in 2012. Ford said today that it has sold more than 6,300 plug-in hybrid C-MAX Energi vehicles (pictured) as of November. The car will set you back about $33,000.
Last year, Ford revealed its S-Max Concept sport activity vehicle (SAV), which is intended to produce a smarter and safer driving experience. That includes automatic parking – parallel and vertical – and backing out, as well as using Wi-Fi to communicate with other cars on the road about potential problems ahead. For more, check out the video below.