Ford introduces solar energy vehicle

Ford puts a new twist on clean transportation


While much of the global auto industry is beginning to focus on hydrogen fuel cells, Ford has opted to take a different approach on the issue of clean transportation. Ford has a stake in electric vehicles, but has not been convinced of the viability of fuel cells. Instead, the automaker believes solar energy would be a better option for powering a car. Ford has unveiled its C-Max Solar Energi concept vehicle, which aims to put a new spin on clean transportation.

Vehicle equipped with a solar array

The vehicle is a conventional plug-in hybrid equipped with a lithium-ion battery. It has the same features and specifications as many of Ford’s other vehicles, but the C-Max is also equipped with solar panels on its roof. The photovoltaic modules collect solar radiation and convert it into electricity, which is used to power the vehicle. A non-solar version of this vehicle was released in 2012 and Ford has sold approximately 6,300 units of that particular vehicle as of November 2013.

Solar panels help charge electric vehicle

The C-Max is billed as a plug-in vehicle that does not actually have to be plugged in to anything. The solar panels on the vehicle’s roof charge its lithium-ion battery while the vehicle itself is not being used. The concept is meant to show how viable solar energy can be in the field of transportation, but Ford notes that it will not be able to tackle one of the most significant problems concerning electric vehicles.

Charging is still an issue for electric vehicles

Electric vehicles take quite a long time to charge. According to Ford, a largely depleted battery will take as much as seven hours to charge fully, even with the help of solar panels. While solar energy can make charging an electric vehicle more convenient, it will not make charging any quicker. Ford believes, however, that putting a new twist on clean transportation can encourage more innovative thinking when it comes to clean vehicles.

Which type of energy do you think will dominate the world's needs/industry in 10 years?

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