Plug in’s are thing from the Past – the Concept Ford C-MAX uses solar panels to recharge its batteries

Jan 14

Plug in’s are thing from the Past

We knew that in future even plug in cars will be a thing of past, we were mistaken. The future is now as the Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept hybrid, which uses solar panels to recharge its batteries, will go on show at the International CES in Las Vegas from 7-10 January. It is a trade show for electronic goods. Some of you may remember that Audi and Mercedes have fitted solar panels to power ancillaries on some of their models but Ford’s system works differently because it would be used to charge the batteries that power the car.

The C-MAX Solar Energy Concept uses a special Fresnel lens which is similar to the type used in lighthouses to amplify the sun’s rays eight times. The power created is equivalent to a four-hour battery charge, which is enough to power the C-MAX for 21 miles on battery power alone. The car can be charged via a plug, if needed, and has a conventional petrol engine that gives it a total range of up to 620 miles.

Ford will test the car in lots of real-world scenarios after the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is shown at the CES show. The outcome of those tests will help to determine if the concept is practicable as a production car. Ford forecasts it sold 85,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles in 2013, although the exact figure is not yet known. Much of its success can be credited to the more conventional Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid which is a hybird version of the C-MAX Solar Energy Concept, which sold more than 6,300 units in the US during November alone. Although there are no Ford hybrids or electric cars currently on sale in the UK, a hybrid version of the Ford Mondeo is set to go on sale at the end of 2014.