Now, solar-powered car that follows the sun to maximize energy gain
Washington – Researchers have developed a solar-powered concept car that will follow the sun to maximize its energy collection.
Ford’s C-MAX Solar Energi Concept vehicle is the first-ever solar-powered hybrid, that will be able to “creep” back and forth a short distance to get the best exposure for its rooftop collection panels.
And those panels will get a powerful assist from a special energy concentrator device.
The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept will feature a rooftop solar panel array developed in partnership with SunPower Corp. of San Jose, California.
Ford worked with the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta to develop a concentrator device—basically, a special roof over the parked C-MAX—that intensifies the effect of sunlight on the cells by a factor of eight.
The concentrator is a Fresnel lens, a prism-like optics design that was originally developed to increase the intensity of beams emanating from lighthouses.
More recently, it’s been used for increasing the efficiency of solar energy technology.
The Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept will move back and forth autonomously under the concentrator to track the sun and maximize energy collection.
The concentrator is stationary, but the C-MAX Solar Energi will be able to move back and forth a short distance to track the sun for optimal solar gain.
Ford says that the concentrator can provide a daily dose of solar energy equal to four hours, or 8 kilowatts, of battery charge.
The car will also have a plug-in port for charging from an electrical source, should the sun not oblige.