Ford Bringing Solar Powered Plug-In Hybrid to CES
Solar energy is powering so much of our daily lives, so why can’t it help power your car too? Before you get your hopes up, this is not a solar powered car similar to what engineers the world over compete each year in the World Solar Challenge with vehicles powered exclusively by the sun. This is a breakthrough nonetheless. Ford, SunPower, and Georgia Tech have partnered together to put high efficiency solar cells on the roof of a plug-in hybrid allowing owners the potential of never charging the car using the electrical grid.
Researchers developed an off-vehicle solar concentrator that uses a special Fresnel lens to direct sunlight to the solar cells while boosting the impact of the sunlight by a factor of eight, much like a magnifying glass. The patent-pending system tracks the sun as it moves from east to west, drawing enough power from the sun through the concentrator each day to equal a four-hour battery charge (8 kilowatts).
By using this system, Ford estimates the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept will reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons, the equivalent of what a U.S. house produces in four months.
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