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Ford is about to show off a vehicle that can run for 21 miles on a day's worth of sunshine.
The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is an adaptation on the plug-in hybrid, vehicles that run for short distances on electricity, then become traditional hybrids. This vehicle has solar cells on the roof to charge the batteries.
“Our hope is that people recognize that these technologies are really moving forward fast, and we can find alternatives that are really environmentally friendly as we move forward,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford’s global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure.
Jeff Gilbert, automotive reporter for WWJ in Dearborn, MI, says the vehicle also include a special concentrator technology, which Tinskey says acts like a magnifying glass to concentrate the suns rays. While the vehicle has a traditional plug for poor weather days, Tinskey says it doesn’t need to be in a traditionally sunny climate to have an impact.
“I think you’d be surprised, if listeners looked at how much solar energy can be captured in Michigan.”
Ford debuts the CMAX Solar Energi Concept at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The company isn’t talking about actually producing a vehicle like this. But, Tinski says the technology is not exceptionally expensive.
It could also be a way, Tinskey says, to harness the Sun’s power in a way to have a maximum impact at minimum cost.
“21 miles capture a majority of everybody’s driving,” he said. “I think statistically, about sixty to seventy percent of the U.S. drive less than 20 miles per day. We would, technically speaking, be able to capture all of that driving using solar energy alone.”