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Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept

The innovative Ford C-MAX concept car uses solar panels to recharge its batteries

The Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept hybrid, which uses solar panels to recharge its batteries, will go on show at the International CES (a trade show for electronic goods) in Las Vegas from 7-10 January.

Although using solar panels on production cars is not a new concept – companies such as Mercedes and Audi have fitted them to power ancillaries on some of their models – the Ford’s system is different because it would be used to charge the batteries that power the car itself.

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The C-MAX Solar Energy Concept uses a special Fresnel lens (similar to the type used in lighthouses) to amplify the sun’s rays eight times. The power created is equivalent to a four-hour battery charge, which is enough to power the C-MAX for 21 miles on battery power alone. The car can be charged via a plug, if needed, and has a conventional petrol engine that gives it a total range of up to 620 miles.

After the C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is shown at the CES show, Ford will begin testing the vehicle in numerous real-world scenarios and the outcome of those tests will help to determine if the concept is feasible as a production car.

Ford forecasts it sold 85,000 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles in 2013, although the exact figure is not yet known. Much of its success can be attributed to the more conventional Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid (a hybird version of the C-MAX Solar Energy Concept), which sold more than 6,300 units in the US during November alone. Although there are no Ford hybrids or electric cars currently on sale in the UK, a hybrid version of the Ford Mondeo is set to go on sale at the end of this year.

For a rundown of the entire Ford range, visit the Carbuyer Ford reviews page.

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