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Old 01-02-2014, 08:11 PM
Location: Volcano
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Now, don't get too excited. This still isn't the sci-fi dream of a car powered from the sun in real time, nor will it even recharge the car in a day using the solar roof alone. But it is an interesting concept, a carport roof that works as a solar concentrator, yielding up to 8 times the charge rate possible with the solar roof alone.

Now THAT'S a sunroof: Solar-powered family car emerges from Ford labs

CES 2014 At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week, the Ford Motor Company will display what it describes as a "first-of-its-kind sun-powered concept vehicle" that can charge its batteries using only solar power.

Ford announced the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept on Thursday, a vehicle with about 1.5 square meters of photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof of the company's C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid.

The panels, provided by SunPower provide 50 per cent more power than comparably sized photovoltaic panels from other vendors, according to SunPower module product manager Zach Campeau.

But even at that level of efficiency, the panels can only generate about 300 watts of power not enough to fully recharge the vehicle's 7.6kWh lithium ion battery in one day, says Ford's global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure, Mike Tinskey.

"But if you take this vehicle and couple it with what we call a solar concentrator just basically being a lens that can magnify the solar energy," Tinskey says, "what you end up with is a combination of vehicle plus infrastructure that can essentially recharge that C-MAX battery to 100 per cent from solar energy."

That off-vehicle concentrator was developed in conjunction with the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is essentially a canopy under which the vehicle is parked, and which uses a grid of Fresnel lenses to focus the solar energy on the panels, boosting the sun's power by about a factor of eight...

Now THAT'S a sunroof: Solar-powered family car emerges from Ford labs
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Old 01-03-2014, 01:14 PM
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I promise not to get too excited, but it is a potential start. With the fresnel lens canopy and the solar panels I wonder what the cost point is supposed to be?

VIA motors has a solar panel that goes on top of their converted GM pickup tonneau cover. I wonder if they thought of playing around with a fresnel lens canopy? Since there is more real-estate on a 8' pickup bed, they have a 800-watt panel option. Even if the fresnel could only boost it 4x - that should help charge the battery nicely. They say the 800 watt panel will add 5-10 miles of driving range on a typical day. I also wonder why they don't put a panel over the passenger compartment as well. Boost the capacity to at least 1200 watts.

Now Ford needs to make an F150 with a modified Energi powertrain and larger battery...
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