We here at Car Craic are avid fans of motoring technology, particularly those inventions which are undoubtedly cool (such as the force field system destined to render the windscreen wiper a thing of the past).
Ford’s new concept car – the C-Max Solar Energi – fits a little awkwardly into this genre, despite being an electric car. It is, however, an electric car with a bit of a twist. Ford has announced to the world its intent to develop an electric car which uses solar panels to harness the power of the almighty sun, which does pique the interest a little. Working with Georgia Institute of Technology and a firm from California called SunPower they’ve used a special lens, like a magnifying glass, which directs the sun’s rays onto the panels. This clever little device can also track the movements of the sun at all times, much like the NSA and your browsing history, so that the car can be charged at any time of day there is sunlight, instead of plugging it into a socket.
On a full charge, Ford reckon the concept could have a range of around 998 kilometres, 34 of which will be electric-only. It’s not a bad idea for drivers considering an electric car, but are afraid of trundling to a halt in the middle of a desert with no charging points (it could happen).
Some sharp-minded enthusiasts have already noted potential issues, particularly in areas which mightn’t have much sunlight for large portions of the year. The problem for Irish drivers, of course, is that our rainy season tends to last between August and June, and the system could have its work cut out for it in trying to find enough sunlight to keep the wheels turning.
In addition, the problem for drivers without any sight difficulties is that this solar powered system has been fitted to a C-Max, and therefore isn’t exactly the most eye-catching of designs. If we were really intent on buying an electric car that didn’t look like the colour beige brought to life and given four wheels and an engine, we’d just save our eyesight and buy a Tesla Model S.