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Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept

solar energi solar concept

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19 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   robertlane

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:22 AM

Let the Sun In: Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept Goes Off the Grid, Gives Glimpse of Clean Vehicle Future

  • Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of a plug-in hybrid without depending on the electric grid for fuel
  • C-MAX Solar Energi Concept with a solar panel roof draws power from a special solar concentrator lens similar to a magnifying glass
  • By using renewable power, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons
  • C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, which will be on display at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, Jan. 7-10, debuts as Ford’s strong electrified vehicle lineup is expected to post a record 85,000-plus sales for 2013 

cq5dam.web.480.480.jpeg

 

Ford C-MAX Energi Forum - Ford Motor Company announced today the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of what a plug-in hybrid offers – without depending on the electric grid for fuel.

 

Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof. 

 

The result is a concept vehicle that takes 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 Energi gets a combined best miles per gallon equivalent in its class, with EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway, for a combined 100 MPGe. By using renewable power, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons.

 

“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.” 

 

 

C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, which will be shown at the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas, is a collaborative project of Ford, San Jose, Calif.-based SunPower Corp. and Atlanta-based Georgia Institute of Technology.

 

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Strong electrified vehicle sales

The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept debuts as Ford caps a record year of electrified vehicle sales. 

 

Ford expects to sell 85,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles for 2013 – the first full year its six new electrified vehicles were available in dealer showrooms.

 

C-MAX Energi is Ford’s plug-in sales leader, with sales of more than 6,300 through November. Ford sold more plug-in vehicles in October and November than both Toyota and Tesla, and it outsold Toyota through the first 11 months of 2013. Plug-in hybrids continue to grow in sales as more customers discover the benefits of using electricity to extend their driving range. 

 

C-MAX Hybrid over the last year has been a key driver in helping Ford sell more hybrids than any other automaker in the United States, second only to Toyota. C-MAX Hybrid continues to bring new customers to the Ford brand, with a conquest rate of 64 percent and drawing nearly half of its sales from import brands. Conquest rates are even higher in key hybrid growth markets like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. 

 

Breakthrough clean technology

SunPower, which has been Ford’s solar technology partner since 2011, is providing high-efficiency solar cells for the roof of Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept. Because of the extended time it takes to absorb enough energy to fully charge the vehicle, Ford turned to Georgia Institute of Technology for a way to amplify the sunlight in order to make a solar-powered hybrid feasible for daily use. 

 

Researchers developed an off-vehicle solar concentrator that uses a special Fresnel lens to direct sunlight to the solar cells while boosting the impact of the sunlight by a factor of eight. Fresnel is a compact lens originally developed for use in lighthouses. Similar in concept to a magnifying glass, the patent-pending system tracks the sun as it moves from east to west, drawing enough power from the sun through the concentrator each day to equal a four-hour battery charge (8 kilowatts).

 

With a full charge, 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, if desired. 

After C-MAX Solar Energi Concept 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.  

 

cq5dam.web.480.480.jpeg

 

Off-the-grid car 

By tapping renewable solar energy with a rooftop solar panel system, C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is not dependent on the traditional electric grid for its battery power. Internal Ford data suggest the sun could power up to 75 percent of all trips made by an average driver in a solar hybrid vehicle. This could be especially important in places where the electric grid is underdeveloped, unreliable or expensive to use.  

 

The vehicle also reinforces MyEnergi Lifestyle, a concept revealed by Ford and several partners at 2013 CES. MyEnergi Lifestyle uses math, science and computer modeling to help homeowners understand how they can take advantage of energy-efficient home appliances, solar power systems and plug-in hybrid vehicles to significantly reduce monthly expenses while also reducing their overall carbon footprint.

 

The positive environmental impact from Ford C-MAX Solar Energi could be significant. It would reduce yearly CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions from the average U.S. car owner by as much as four metric tons – the equivalent of what a U.S. house produces in four months.

If all light-duty vehicles in the United States were to adopt Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept technology, annual greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by approximately 1 billion metric tons.

 

 









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#2 OFFLINE   Don

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:33 AM

OK, now that it is fully explained in the video I don't see it being viable, as shown. Requiring a special structure with lens' seems less desirable than building a carport with solar panels on the roof of the carport.

If they are really bent on making the, as described, concept more feasible they should not require the car to be in motion. They would be much better off using active optical elements (motorized mirrors etc.) on the roof of stationary structure.

Edited by Don, 02 January 2014 - 12:17 PM.


#3 OFFLINE   Ryan McEachern

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 11:55 AM

Don,

I agree with you. While there is some attraction in having the fresnel lens track the sun position and have the panels stationary, this concept is a long ways off from being viable. Much cheaper and reliable to use tried and true technology of fixed panels aligned at an average angle. (for now).

#4 OFFLINE   Don

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:16 PM

I must admit they do have me inspired to think about what they are attempting. Whenever you use a lens, to concentrate the sun's energy, you are increasing the energy density which includes the heat flux. High temperatures make solar panels less efficient and can destroy them or any, unintended object (animals, etc.) that end up in the area of the focused energy. If they decide they want to focus the sun into a small area they may be better off focusing on boiler, or such, and running steam or Stirling engine that runs a generator.

Edited by Don, 02 January 2014 - 12:21 PM.


#5 OFFLINE   F big oil

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:39 PM

The engineer said that the system in place produces 300 watts so as is, it would produce 2.4kwh in 8 hours of sun light. That is about a third of a charge per day or an additional 7 miles

of EV driving. I like it and I also think that all C-Max should come this way. :smile2:

 

I have toyed with the idea of designing a system that would charge a car in 4 hours. You would need eight 305 watt panels and some sort of charging system in place to maintain the 350v DC needed to charge the battery. Coincidentally, eight 305 watt panels produce 350 volts DC. It would be very efficient in that you would not have to convert the DC out of the solar panels. Much more efficient that the AC to DC system that charges our cars now.


Edited by F big oil, 02 January 2014 - 12:40 PM.


#6 OFFLINE   Ryan McEachern

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:50 PM

I'm not very Solar savvy, but wouldn't the DC voltage produced by the combined solar panel bank fluctuate as the sun intensity changes, and as the load changes? I'm pretty sure you would need a charge regulator or voltage controller anyway.

I want a Energ-targeted small scale solar system for myself and am seriously considering it. I need someone with solar know-how to put one together, then I can copy them.

Edited by Ryan McEachern, 02 January 2014 - 12:50 PM.


#7 OFFLINE   Ryan McEachern

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 12:52 PM

Sorry, I missed the part where you talk about the DC voltage regulator. I agree that eliminating the DC - AC - DC would save a lot of wasted energy.

#8 OFFLINE   viajero

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 07:12 PM

I must admit they do have me inspired to think about what they are attempting. Whenever you use a lens, to concentrate the sun's energy, you are increasing the energy density which includes the heat flux. High temperatures make solar panels less efficient and can destroy them or any, unintended object (animals, etc.) that end up in the area of the focused energy. If they decide they want to focus the sun into a small area they may be better off focusing on boiler, or such, and running steam or Stirling engine that runs a generator.

 

Concentrating photovoltaics are a well-established technology.  Solar cells that are made to work with concentrated light are more efficient than ones using direct sunlight.

 

http://www.nrel.gov/...trating_pv.html

 

But, concentrating PV and Stirling engines are both being overrun by regular solar panels getting cheaper.  Unless you're really space-constrained, it's cheaper to just add more conventional solar panels than to use concentrators and the required sun-tracking mechanicals.



#9 OFFLINE   viajero

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 07:19 PM

This Fresnel carport is kind of a cool-sounding idea, but I still think it would be more practical to just put solar panels on the carport roof and have a plug underneath.  Then other EVs without solar panels could use it, and you wouldn't need extra space for the car to move back and forth.  You could connect the carport to the grid and supply energy to the grid on sunny days when there was no car parked there, and charge cars from the grid at night or on cloudy days.



#10 OFFLINE   jmfernald

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 03:51 PM

This Fresnel carport is kind of a cool-sounding idea, but I still think it would be more practical to just put solar panels on the carport roof and have a plug underneath.  Then other EVs without solar panels could use it, and you wouldn't need extra space for the car to move back and forth.  You could connect the carport to the grid and supply energy to the grid on sunny days when there was no car parked there, and charge cars from the grid at night or on cloudy days.

I like that idea but I think one of Ford/SunPower's goals is to not rely on the grid.  Our utility buys back power at an attractive rate, so i have been considering putting in some panels.  Now that I have the C-Max Energi, it seems to make even more sense.



#11 OFFLINE   F big oil

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Posted 03 January 2014 - 08:11 PM

Yes, it does make sense.

#12 OFFLINE   Tdefny

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 04:26 PM

The fresnel carport will work great to precondition a car with Pano roof in the winter.

#13 OFFLINE   John Meixel

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Posted 10 January 2014 - 06:41 PM

The carport makes no sense to me unless they were available at my work because that is where the car will be when the sun is out.

#14 OFFLINE   miboje

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 04:37 PM

Why did this car, or an improved version, not come to market? It's exactly what we need, with more range.

#15 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:47 PM

Because it would have belly flopped as people started baking their cars in the sun to charge the internal battery causing it to get overheated and losing life sooner than later.

 

It might be nice to pickup a couple of watts here and there while on the road, but parking in the sun to charge my car, nope not doing it!

 

-=>Raja.


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#16 OFFLINE   miboje

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 03:01 AM

Because it would have belly flopped as people started baking their cars in the sun to charge the internal battery causing it to get overheated and losing life sooner than later.

 

It might be nice to pickup a couple of watts here and there while on the road, but parking in the sun to charge my car, nope not doing it!

 

-=>Raja.

Ah yes....thank you for that point, Raja.



#17 OFFLINE   cr08

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 04:17 AM

To be fair, especially given existing experience with our cars, I think going the Prius route and using it to vent the car while the HVB is disconnected would be a great option. I can't imagine solar panels putting enough juice into the battery to be worth anything.

 

Just a VERY rough calculation:

 

Total square footage of the C-Max is 174"x72". This is absolute best case bumper to bumper and not just the roof alone. That comes to 87 square feet. Absolute best case watt/sqft I've come across is 20w/sqft but nominally in the 10-15 range. A best case scenario using the car's entire footprint with a 100% sun load with the best solar panels they can buy comes out to 1740 watts. That is also not taking into account the inefficiencies of converting from the low voltage of the solar panels all the way up to the ~300V pack voltage. And as you said that is assuming the car would be sitting in direct sun the entire time. I'd hope they utilize some of that energy to run the AC at low levels to keep the cabin cool or some other form of thermal management.


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#18 OFFLINE   komondor

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 05:15 AM

How about a pop up lens when the car is parked to charge the panels while parked and also allow it to charge wile driving?


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#19 OFFLINE   miboje

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 06:14 AM

How about a pop up lens when the car is parked to charge the panels while parked and also allow it to charge wile driving?

That's genius! But, like Raja said, how to avoid overheating caused by charging in direct sunlight?



#20 OFFLINE   rbort

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 06:34 AM

You have no choice while driving, panels on the car could help charge the battery some while driving, but its not going to be much.  300 watt is nothing, and if you covered the whole car one side of the car will be low power as its not in direct sunlight.  When it comes time to park, best to park it in the shade not in the sun (last resort is the hot sun) so the panel is not going to help much while parked if you're think about heat the keeping the car cool.

 

Best to invest in panels on your roof and charge the car while in your garage for free.

 

-=>Raja.










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