At CES 2014, Ford debuted its newest concept car, the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept, a unique vehicle allowing the owner the possibility of going completely off-grid. The C-MAX Concept is a plug-in hybrid that also has solar panels on the roof; a special concentrator lens (like a magnifying glass) directs sunlight onto the panels. Driving this first-of-a-kind car would typically eliminate four metric tons of greenhouse emissions per year. A fully charged C-MAX Concept would have an estimated driving range of 620 miles; if needed, the car could be connected to a charging station to get grid power. The concept vehicle is expected to get 100 combined MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent).
Working with scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Ford developed a custom Fresnel lens to direct and boost sunlight. The system includes sun-tracking technology to follow the sun through the day, producing a total 8 kWh charge. The roof’s efficient X21 solar cells were developed by SunPower. In 2013, its E-Series panels gave SunPower top records in solar module yield. The new X-Series panels deliver efficiency of 21.5%, a world record. These panels will deliver 75% more electricity over 25 years of life.