Power Week-in-Review: Ford Solar Hybrid EV, PV Cell Chip & Home Electricity Use
Ford's C-MAX Solar Energi Concept hybrid vehicle has a rooftop solar panel system that uses a Fresnel lens to concentrate sunlight onto the solar cells to boost the sunlight impact by a factor of eight. (Courtesy Ford)
OK for those living in Arizona that only drive car around town at random times perhaps, not all day at work. But it has a charge port as well? Then workplace might have chargers. If you work NIGHTS and charge at home by DAY you meet the suggestion of perfect customer???
Luckily, we are all different in our needs, so someone fits the ideal customer for any kind of transportation.
Orindabill, Ford were quite clear about the carport. They correctly quote the unassisted panel as max 300W and say straight out that it is insufficient. They include a video showing the car port. You can't blame them for "reporters" unable to read carefully or to take the time to watch a perfectly lucid video before composing their own synopsis.
Ford talk about using metal substrate partly flexible cells to withstand the heat. Presumably there is an air cell between them and the car, and a continuous flow of air would keep them separate. Or maybe they just put some kind of passive superinsulation in there, that might be safer.
Looks like there could be some safety issues. The cells will run too hot to touch and if you accidentally wander under the carport on a sunny day, that is some 12 sq m of fresnel lens which will be trying to grill you. The geometry looks like there will be a focal point lower down at which the sunlight is concentrated even more than 8x when the car is not parked in place. They may need some sort of interlock to roll a shade into place when the car is not there.
It is a clever idea, getting up to 8kWh per day parked in a car port in suitable parts of the country is interesting. But does it beat putting up 20sqm or so of conventional EV on your roof?
Also, my EV would be charging at home at night. In the daytime it will be in the company garage. If a company wants to set up solar charge stations for EV drivers a conventional setup which can charge any car would seem to make more sense.
EETimes reports on the misleading and irresponsible press report from Ford. What most people do not get is that you need to build a "garage" covered with fresnel lenses and park your car there during full sunlight to get the touted 8-times benefit. In their press release they called it "infrastructure". Park your car under this contraption during the day and drive at night? (They did not tell you thats what they are proposing) It is cheaper to put 8 x as many panels on the roof of your house (indeed concentrators do not match the price of just increasing panel areas). Moreover you can harvest the energy during the day, send it into the grid and get it back at night to charge your car.
There is absolutely nothing new in the dishonest Ford announcement. Concentrators using fresnel lenses are as old as the hills and still more expensive than simple solar arrays. But telling you to park your car when its sunny and only drive it at night ... well perhaps that's new!
Along with the photons, with the Fresnel lens and solar cell system in Arizona at 120-160 degees surface temperature on the roof of the car, how do you keep the inside of the car cool enough to avoid melting all the plastics, etc and frying the driver? Aircon? No easy answers. Hope to test drive one of these in next few years in Arizona...in the summer.