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.