Ford is to unveil a solar powered version of the Ford C-Max plug-in hybrid at the CES show next week.
The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept uses a solar panel on the roof which is said to act like a magnifying glass. Ford claims it takes a day’s sunlight to deliver the same performance as the standard C-Max Energi PHEV.
The car's solar panels have been supplied by Ford’s solar technology partner, SunPower, with the Fresnel-type 'concentrator' lens developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology. The Fresnel lens, which features concentric arrangements of tiny prisms to track the sun's rays, acts like a thin magnifying glass.
Ford says eight kilowatts can be generated through the system, equal to a four-hour battery charge.
The C-Max Solar Energi is estimated to reduced the standard Energi’s annual emissions by around four tonnes for a typical owner. A range of 620 miles, with a 21-mile EV-only range, is possible and the car retains the ability to plug in to an electrical socket.
Research by Ford says the sun could power up to 75 per cent of all trips made by the average driver in a solar electric vehicle, and suggests the technology could be particularly viable in areas with underdeveloped or unreliable electricity infrastructure.