The aptly-named C-Max Solar Energi Concept features a roof comprised of three solar panels, capable of charging the EV’s battery using “one day’s sunlight”.
Ford claims the Solar Energi can survive without ever using its ‘backup’ mains-powered plug, as one day in the sun is roughly equivalent to a four-hour battery charge.
By existing ‘off-the-grid’, the annual CO2 emissions compared to an average car in the US can potentially be reduced by up to four tonnes.
The panels used to power the Solar Energi’s battery utilise a new “solar concentrator lens”, similar to a magnifying glass and lens used in lighthouses, to effectively ‘multiply’ the available sunlight by a factor of eight.
The lens’ shape means it can pick up the sun’s rays regardless of the big star’s position in the sky.
Ford says the Solar Energi will have the same range as the ‘regular’ Energi (which has improved since launch), effectively meaning the plug-in hybrid can travel up to 34km on sunlight alone, and a combined range of just less than 1000km.
“Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy,” Ford’s Mike Tinskey said.
“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.”
The C-Max Solar Energi Concept is a collaborative project of Ford, California-based SunPower Corp. and the Georgia Institute of Technology.