Ford has unveiled plans to debut their first solar-powered car next week at the 2014 International CES show in Las Vegas. The new C-MAX Solar Energi concept is based on the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, but the addition of solar panels means that it can harness the power of the sun to provide emissions-free driving.
According to Ford, the C-MAX Solar Energi concept can convert a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which draws its power from the electric grid.
“Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept shines a new light on electric transportation and renewable energy,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. “As an innovation leader, we want to further the public dialog about the art of the possible in moving the world toward a cleaner future.”
The Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to have the same total range as a conventional C-MAX Energi of up to 620 miles, including up to 21 electric only miles. Additionally, the vehicle still has a charge port and can be charged by connecting to a charging station via cord and plug so that drivers retain the option to power up via the grid.
It hasn’t been announced if the C-MAX Solar Energi concept will ever be produced, but after it is shown at CES, Ford and Georgia Tech will begin testing the vehicle in numerous real-world scenarios. The outcome of those tests will help to determine if the concept is feasible as a production car.