Ford Develops Solar-Powered Car for Everyday Use

×
Ford Motor Co./AOLThe Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept.
By Philip LeBeau

Ford has developed a concept model that runs primarily on solar power, which could bring the world one step closer to having a vehicle for everyday driving that is not dependent on traditional energy sources.

The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is a collaboration between Ford (F), SunPower Corp. and the Georgia Institute of Technology. The concept car is expected to be unveiled next week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Like all concept models, the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept may never be built or sold to the public. However, many of the features and technologies we see in current vehicles were once shown for the first time in concept models years ago.

Harnessing the Sun's Power

Ford says the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept would be powered by energy it collects using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass.

The concentrator would take energy
from sun light and direct intense rays to panels on the vehicle's roof.

In theory, the C-MAX Solar Energi could fully recharge itself without the vehicle having to be plugged in to an electrical outlet. Ford believes sunshine could power up to 75 percent of all trips made in a solar hybrid vehicle, though the automaker does not give a distance for those trips.

Solar-Powered Cars Not New

Solar-powered cars have been developed and driven around the world for years, but almost exclusively in contests or research programs designed to show how far cars could travel without gas. In most cases, the cars have been small capsules designed to hold only a driver.

The challenge has long been finding a way to harness enough solar energy to power a vehicle that could be used every day and carry more than just the driver.


More from CNBC


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Investing in Real Estate

Learn the basics of investing in real estate.

View Course »

Basics of Diversification

Learn one of the fundamental concepts of building a portfolio.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

28 Comments

Filter by:
htsnum101

Does anyone believe Big Oil will let this happen? I don't

January 06 2014 at 8:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
maloontransllc

Ford is the class of the field and makes a great product. This type of vehicle should be mass produced and then lets see the oil giants raid our retirement.

January 02 2014 at 4:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gumby

Smart driving computers will make driving safer so car weight will make very little difference in safety when it comes to crashes.. Big heavy cars will stop sooner enough to avoid killing you in a lightweight solar car weighing only 500-800 lbs.. If you wait on buying a new car, the sooner Ford and GM will come up with much lighter EVs for far less than you would be coughing up right now. Stick it to them!
I am fed up with $35,000 cars!!
Hell no I wont buy one!

January 02 2014 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gumby

Solar cars is supposed to be much lighter like 800 pounds or so instead of one and half ton as shown above. You cannot get far with all that weight!! We have electric bicycles that can carry much bigger battery packs , but we limit them to 20 miles generally. Why is that? where is the logic? Red herrings??? Electric vehicles is best for street driving locally . We need $5000 EVs not $35,000 EVs that only wealthy joyriders want to buy. They would never make EVs cheap enough for poor retirees that are multiplying fast every year because of post WW-II baby boom. We need cheap EVs now and fast! We cannot afford $30,000 Fords!!! Hello , Elio Motors!! 85 mpg triwheelers are coming... move over, Stupid Ford Repair Daily!

January 02 2014 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
spydrworks1067

It is about time. This should have been done decades ago.

January 02 2014 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
torandersen

reach to the sun plenty of energy there for everyone and everything.. you could do thist with your house, business, concentrators have already made the billions put into solar panels obsolete,.. eventually we'll have a product that will be able to absorb so much energy that it'll have to turn energy away... which will completely redefine how people will pay energy bills and taxes.

January 02 2014 at 12:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dxtennis

Glad to hear it! Should have been available in Ca. and Florida years ago!
I bet Toyota will come up with a better one next year!

January 02 2014 at 12:37 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dxtennis's comment
taostop

The arrogance of Toyota drivers! Drive you crappy little Prius!

January 02 2014 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to taostop's comment
maloontransllc

Crappy little Prius you say... They are one hell of a vehicle which cuts your gas bill by 75 %

January 02 2014 at 4:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
koos458

My commute is 12 mile round trip with a max speed of 40 mph. The problem is the design critera is always for 4 people, 70 mph and 250 mile range when almost all driving is one person and about 20 miles. It makes what could be dirt cheap transportation into a horrendously expensive novelty.

January 02 2014 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nh3man

Good luck driving that ride around in gray sky Michigan.

January 02 2014 at 11:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dr Iving Force

If you\'re tired of being a Sucker of Big Business, make sure to see the 1988 Jeff Bridges film, \"Tucker A Man & His Dream\" !!
It\'s a Real, Timeless Classic & as true as Hollywood gets. It will open up your Eyes to the ruthless, profit driven Auto Industry!! Safety is still an Afterthought & Big Industry Money & their Lobbyists have Scary Amounts of Power!! Nothing has changed in Decades, (nor is it Likely to).
In a Textbook that we contributed to, the insightful author raises the similar Greedy Industrial Example of why Lead was ever introduced into Gasoline. Originally there were Some Good Physical Reasons. Weak Steel & sloppy tolerances were mitigated by the \"Floating Cushion of Heavy, Gaseous Lead\". The lead softened the blow of the Valves Striking the Cylinder Heads, as well as well as a virtual gasket to Increase the Compression, ergo upping the performance. However, he is quick to point out how that Low Tech Engineering in the EARLY DAYS of Internal Combustion Engines, was Solved soon thereafter!! Here, the NEEDLESS Lead provided a Market for the Lead Industry while justifying Higher Fuel Prices to Refine it. The Auto Tycoons laughed all the way to the Bank as folks returned to Pay the Dealerships to Clean Out their Fuel Systems, Carburetors, Spark Plugs & Exhaust Systems.
By the 1920\'s & 1930\'s, the only reasons to continue the POLLUTION of Our Planet was to keep the 3 Types of Money Barons Rich at the expense of Logic & Efficiency. The Evil Axis Powers realized decades earlier, that superior Engineering ended the need for all that inefficient waste!! They saved Immeasurable Amounts of Needless Preventative Maintenance & Repairs; The Loss of Fuel Efficiency in the logistics of transporting the Heavier Fuel; and how many Lives were lost due to the Allies\' Exorbitant Man-Hours mining more Lead than was necessary. We continued including Lead to our Population\'s Fiscal Detriment & the poisoning of our Planet\'s Ecology, both Air & Water Tables !!
What were we thinking? *Rather, who was sabotaging us, while the Empire of Japan & Hitler\'s Ruthless Nazi\'s used all their Lead in Ammo to kill Our GI\'s & Allies, (beyond Painting Panzers & Planes)
* & Dear \"bzzzbayte\", How do we Join the Eeyore, Gloom & Doom Pessimist Club with you?

January 02 2014 at 11:23 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply