Ford Goes Off the Grid

Why can’t your car do double duty? Most of the time, 94% in fact, your car just sits there parked. What if you could make it do something useful during that time … say, like charge an electric vehicle’s batteries?

Ford has come out with a solar roof for cars for just that purpose – to re-charge batteries. Ford calls this vehicle the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept. This hybrid vehicle has 300 watts to 350 watts of SunPower Corp. solar cells on the roof, but with a special and really cool twist.

The concept includes a low cost canopy-like parking structure that uses cheap, acrylic, Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight on the car’s solar panels, greatly improving (concentrating) ambient sunlight and hence boosting the collection efficiency of the solar cells-by as much as 50%! This concentrating feature was developed with the Georgia Institute of Technology; and actually shifts the car’s position relative to the sun throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky, thus maximizing solar collection all day long.

The concept allows the car to re-charge during the day-independent of the conventional grid, making it standalone. Ford says using this vehicle would reduce annual gas emission by four metric tons per owner each year.

Ford Goes Off the Grid

Can you see these concentrating canopies being added to existing car garages? Maybe special parking lots that feature this? Maybe municipal and company car fleets would have these canopies installed to reduce fleet vehicle fuel costs?

Has anyone told Tesla about this?

Editor’s Deep Dive

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”

Time ® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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1 thought on “Ford Goes Off the Grid

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