The vehicle can travel about 21 miles (34 kilometers) using
only electric power and has a total range of about 620 miles. It
has 300 watts to 350 watts of SunPower Corp. (SPWR) solar cells in the
roof and may portend a future of mass-produced rechargeable cars
that don’t need to be plugged in, said Mike Tinskey, director of
vehicle electrification and infrastructure.
“We are starting to see a convergence that can make these
things possible,” Tinskey said in an interview.
The concept includes a canopy-like parking structure that
uses Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight on the car and boost
efficiency of the solar cells. It was developed with the Georgia
Institute of Technology and shifts the car’s position throughout
the day as the sun moves across the sky.
“It’s a tracking concentrator without the costs of one,”
said Tinskey. The car also has a standard port to connect to a
Ford estimates it sold more than 85,000 hybrids and
electric vehicles in 2013.
Toyota Motor Corp.’s Prius hybrid electric car has an
optional solar panel that powers a fan to circulate air within
the vehicle when it’s parked in direct sunlight. Nissan Motor
Co. offers a Leaf electric vehicle that uses a solar panel that
helps keep the car’s battery charged.
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Reed Landberg at