Leveraging what’s arguably the cheapest form of alternative energy, Ford recently pulled the wraps off of a prototype version of its compact C-MAX wagon that draws power from the sun.
The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is essentially a plug-in hybrid that doesn’t have to be plugged in. That’s because it uses a special solar-paneled roof to recharge its internal batteries. Like the production version C-MAX Energi, it would afford a range of up to 21 miles driving solely on battery power before a gasoline engine engages and the vehicle operates like a conventional hybrid, using the electric motor/generator as needed and recovering battery power from braking and decelerating.
Unfortunately, if it were to come to market, the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept would be marginally practical except perhaps among those working the night shift. As it now stands the batteries take all day to charge and would require a unique carport that works like a big magnifying glass to focus maximum energy onto the solar panel (and subsequently frying any ants that may happen to be atop the vehicle in the process).
© CTW Features