Sunday, October 02, 2016

Sunshine Driven Cars?

Sunshine driven cars?

They're coming.

I just got a used Ford C-Max hybrid that gets 40-45 mpg (though I squeezed 50 mpg out of it for a brief period yesterday), and came across a 2014 post from Ford saying they had just created the Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept car, a "first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle with the potential to deliver the best of a plug-in hybrid without depending on the electric grid for fuel."

This car actually exists, as a protype, and it gets over 100 mpg.
Instead of powering its battery from an electrical outlet, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept harnesses the power of the sun by using a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass, directing intense rays to solar panels on the vehicle roof.

The result is a concept vehicle that takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance as the conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid, which draws its power from the electric grid. Ford C-MAX Energi gets a combined best miles per gallon equivalent in its class, with EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway, for a combined 100 MPGe. By using renewable power, Ford C-MAX Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions a typical owner would produce by four metric tons.


Donald McCaig said...

Dear Patrick,
While I favor a shift from fossil fuel to electric/solar cars, their advocates can be disingenuous. How much energy did it take to make the battery and how long will it last? That magnifying solar roof - how much energy will it take to make once it's in production?

Donald McCaig

PBurns said...

Batteries are not all that labor or energy intensive; they are chemical intensive. That said, they also seem to last a long time. My power train is guaranteed for 100,000 miles, and the first 15 Ford Escape hybrids used in San Francisco all hit 300,000 miles. Story here >>

"San Francisco's first 15 hybrid taxis, all Ford Escapes, have made it to about the 300,000-mile mark -- nearing the city's official taxi retirement age -- and are being taken off the road. Their longevity shows that hybrid technology is more durable than previously imagined; they also have saved drivers about $9,000 a year, depending on gas prices and number of shifts driven."

Of course, those Ford Escape hybrids were from the 2004-2005 lot. The current crop of hybrids are quite a bit better. Solar cells, of course, are made out of the most common substance on earth, so no shortage of materials there, and the car itself is pretty light compare to what a conventional internal combustion car weighs.

In the next 15 years, individual car ownership may disappear entirely with self-driving Uber-like cars, which will mean a glut of parking lots and far less traffic on the road. Whatever vehicle you want for whatever journey will be summoned with your phone. Possible to do it now, but roll out will take 15 years.

PipedreamFarm said...

I can see car ownership declining in urban areas but not in rural and possibly not in suburban areas. It will not be economical for uber like companies to maintain vehicles in areas with lower duty cycles (time in use vs sitting in a lot). How many companies with self driving cars would be willing to service Donald's neighborhood?