Solar Panels Charge Ford Car

ford

Ford Motor Co., the second-largest U.S. automaker, is showcasing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that uses solar panels in the roof to recharge itself.

The C-Max Solar Energi will be on display at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that begins Tuesday, the Dearborn, Mich.-based company said Thursday in a statement.

The vehicle can travel about 21 miles (34 kilometers) using only electric power and has a total range of about 620 miles. It has 300 to 350 watts of SunPower Corp. solar cells in the roof and may portend a future of mass-produced rechargeable cars that don’t need to be plugged in, said Mike Tinskey, director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure.

The concept includes a canopy-like parking structure that uses Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight on the car and boost efficiency of the solar cells. It was developed with the Georgia Institute of Technology and shifts the car’s position throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.

“It’s a tracking concentrator without the costs of one,” said Tinskey. The car also has a standard port to connect to a charging station.

Ford estimates it sold more than 85,000 hybrids and electric vehicles in 2013.

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