Ford to debut electric car with solar-panel roof

Ford C-MAX Energi Plug-in Hybrid Test Drive, in principle, could run partially on the energy of the sun. Photo courtesy of Ford.

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Ford will unveil a concept model of its electric hybrid car outfitted with 1.5 square meters of solar panels on its roof, which the company estimates can power up to 75 percent of a typical driver’s trip.

The C-Max Solar Energi Concept is a “vehicle that takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid,” according to a Ford statement.

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Although Ford’s concept car would free the electric car from relying on nearby charging stations to fully charge the battery, the car only has a range of 21 miles.

Ford’s director of global vehicle electrification and infrastructure told Quartz that the concept car “could be for the home, corporate campuses or developing countries where this is no grid.”

The car also has a gas-powered engine as back up, and Ford estimates it will take six to seven hours to fully charge the car’s lithium-ion battery pack.

USA Today reports that while other automakers have built solar cells into their cars before, they did not get much power from them.

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