Ford to unveil solar hybrid concept car at CES

Jan 02, 2014

(AP)—Ford plans to unveil at this month's International CES gadget show a solar-powered concept car that offers the same performance as a plug-in hybrid but without the need for a plug.

The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept car uses a gasoline engine combined with a gizmo that acts like a magnifying glass to concentrate the sun's rays on the vehicle's roof-mounted solar panels. The automaker says the vehicle's estimated combined city-highway mileage is 100 miles (160 kilometers) per gallon.

The U.S. auto maker says that by using solar power instead of an electric plug, a typical owner will reduce their annual greenhouse gas emissions by four metric tons.

The company says it sold about 85,000 hybrid or electric vehicles in 2013, including 6,300 units of its C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid.

The sun-ray concentrator was developed by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology and uses what is known as a Fresnel lens, which concentrates light but can be made thinner than a conventional lens. A full day of sunshine is equivalent to a four-hour battery charge, or 8 kilowatts, Ford says.

On a full charge, it should have a range of 620 miles (997 kilometers), the same as the C-MAX Energi. The concept car also comes with a plug-in port for standard electric charging.

Ford says that 75 percent of all trips made by an average driver could be powered by the sun.

After showing off the concept car at the convention in Las Vegas Jan. 7-10, Ford Motor Co. says that it will test the vehicle with institute researchers to determine if it's feasible for mass production.

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Returners
1 / 5 (3) Jan 02, 2014
Until the public is convinced to not buy the obscenely over-sized autos which currently crowd our streets, I don't think electric will be a major share of the market, nor perhaps even a significant share.

Now I understand some families need a work truck which can double as the family "car," due to their budget limits, so much as I hate parking "around" the things, I do get that. However, not everybody needs these things, mostly farmers and private contractors, which I don't think the guy driving around in a squeaky clean one with perfect polish and paint job is likely to be either of those.

Until we re-train ourselves to see efficiency, rather than raw power, as a beautiful thing in our autos, I don't think significant progress in the market will be made.

Presently, when engine efficiency gains are made, they simply go into more unneeded horsepower for sports cars, or to make the new family car more like a sports car, so no real change is made in terms of overall efficiency.
Returners
1 / 5 (3) Jan 02, 2014
Oh yeah, no photo of the new car?

Fresnel Lens of the size needed to generate these amounts of energy have a focal length of a few meters, unless they are using several very small ones. How are they avoiding the loss of aerodynamic efficiency? Is the entire apparatus covered in glass or clear plastic on the cab of the car to make up for this?

Plus it doesn't make sense because the amount of energy in a given area of sunlight doesn't change just because you use a lens. Which is to say, the footprint of the car is the same whether you use a lens or whether you use just panels, so there is no more light available either way. How do they gain a benefit from this while not losing the affore mentioned aerodymanics?

Concentrated PV schemes I've seen result in apparatus which would be entirely unsuited for use on a solar vehicle.
TheGhostofOtto1923
3 / 5 (2) Jan 02, 2014
Oh yeah, no photo of the new car?
Are you offended by having to use google?
Fresnel Lens of the size needed to generate these amounts of energy have a focal length of a few meters, unless they are using several very small ones. How are they avoiding the loss of aerodynamic efficiency? Is the entire apparatus covered in glass or clear plastic on the cab of the car to make up for this?
Perhaps instead of another flood of pointless blather, you should instead get over your fear of using google and answer some of these questions for yourself.
Plus it doesn't make sense because the amount of energy in a given area of sunlight doesn't change just because you use a lens. Which is to say, blahblah de blah_blah_blah
Well since real engineers have come up with this, it must have been for some good reasons. Why dont you try to find out instead of displaying your laziness here like its something to be proud of? Blah?
https://www.googl...ie=UTF-8
davidivad
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2014
my grandma had a magnifying lens that was like a big plastic sheet with circular grooves in it. she used it to read her bible. i imagine that this is what they are referring to. i would think that the loss due to the quality of the lens material might make such an idea less financially attractive. of course i don't know what it looks like so i could be totally wrong.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Jan 02, 2014
my grandma had a magnifying lens that was like a big plastic sheet with circular grooves in it. she used it to read her bible. i imagine that this is what they are referring to. i would think that the loss due to the quality of the lens material might make such an idea less financially attractive. of course i don't know what it looks like so i could be totally wrong.
Here you go. Diagrams and everything.
http://www.techhi...sun.html

-Brought to you by georgia Tech
https://www.youtu...NpzE6gIs
Cocoa
not rated yet Jan 03, 2014
Returners: " How do they gain a benefit from this while not losing the affore mentioned aerodymanics?"

CPV is an up and coming technology - you should do some reading.

By placing a lens (or other form of light concentration) device over the car - the designers can take a large area of sunlight - and concentrate it onto a small area. Some systems use thousands of times concentration. Thus a lot of energy - is focused on a small area. High efficiency PV cells are expensive - but because of the small size - it is cost effective.

Photons are not affected by aerodynamics - that part of your argument makes no sense.
davidivad
not rated yet Jan 03, 2014
@the ghost of otto;

lol, loved your contribution.
soaprules
not rated yet Jan 03, 2014
Tesla Motors for the win, not gonna beat Tesla !
pianoman
not rated yet Jan 05, 2014
Tesla had it figured out long ago. Free energy IS the answer. Of interest would be to check out the Paul Hellyer videos.Thanks
PeterPiker
not rated yet Jan 08, 2014
Oh yeah, no photo of the new car?

See similar article in greencarcongress for diagram of "off-board solar concentrator—essentially an inexpensive Fresnel lens canopy".

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