Nicholas Brown Explores Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi EV

Originally published on Kompulsa by Nicholas Brown

Ford C-Max Energi. Image by Nicholas Brown / Kompulsa.com
Ford C-Max Energi. Image by Nicholas Brown / Kompulsa.com

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS/Detroit Auto Show 2014), I saw many cars. However, I was curious about the Ford C-Max Solar Energi, due to the fact that it’s solar-powered and especially the fact that it seats a family.

You may have seen solar-powered cars in the past, but they often seated only one person, and were very unusually shaped. To be fair to those cars, they were built for racing, and they traveled thousands of miles using only solar power.

The C-Max Solar Energi got my attention because it can seat a family and has ample interior capacity. I sat in the front, stretched out my legs, and did the same in the back.

The concept of solar-powered cars has long been belittled due to the fact that solar panels only generate 100 to 443 watts per square meter (normally 100-200 watts). This, combined with the predominantly curved shape of cars makes it difficult to install enough solar panels in an aesthetically pleasing manner.

Ford equipped the C-Max with 300 watts of slightly curved solar panels on the roof. The solar panels follow the curves of the roof, and are dark, so they didn’t look much different from a sunroof until I peered closely at them. That’s good, considering the fact that some people have an issue with the appearance of solar panels.

Ford says that the solar panels actually cover a considerable portion of the vehicle’s power requirements.

Is this possible? Let’s find out:

If the vehicle consumes an average of 250 Wh of electricity per mile, that translates to a daily power consumption of 7,500 Wh (7.5 kWh), based on the fact that the average American drives less than 30 miles per day.

Assuming a solar panel capacity factor of 30%, the solar panels would generate an average of 2.16 kWh per day, which is 28.8% of of the car’s power consumption.

So this is a very helpful, lightweight range extender that isn’t affected by electricity prices, power outages, or the lack of charging infrastructure.

If there is a shortage of range in a plugless region, the car can be parked and charged by the solar panel while the passengers shop or dine.

Sound off with your thoughts about the Ford C-Max Solar Energi in the comment section!

This article, My Exploration Of The C-Max Solar Energi, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nicholas BrownNicholas Brown has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, geography, and much more. My website is: Kompulsa.com

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Straight from the Detroit Auto Show it’s the 2015 Ford Mustang GT

by John Brian Shannon John Brian Shannon

Straight from the Detroit Auto Show it’s the 2015 Ford Mustang GT. Which might as well be re-named Mustang Central this week, as this car is grabbing all the attention.

No, it’s not an electric vehicle, nor is it even a hybrid electric vehicle. But it should be!

Imagine this car loaded with 500 electric horsepower, with the batteries mounted down low (where EV makers put them anyway) to further improve handling.

Doing donuts and laying 11’s would be so-Earth-friendly! In addition to being so great looking and fun to drive — this pony would lead the pack in environmentally-friendly performance cars.

Enjoy the video and the soundtrack!

Video courtesy of: SVTPerformance.com

Nicholas Brown Test Drives the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV

by Nicholas Brown

Nicholas Brown Test Drives the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi
Nicholas Brown Test Drives the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV at the North American International Auto Show. Image by Nicholas Brown / CleanTechnica / Kompulsa

Ford recently covered my trip to Dearborn, Michigan, so that I could attend some of its events and NAIAS. In this first article from the trip, I’ll focus on my test drive of the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi in Michigan, from Dearborn to Detroit. More articles on the NAIAS events I attended will follow in the coming days.

I wasn’t surprised much by the performance of the plug-in hybrid-electric Fusion, but in this case, that’s a good thing.

The first thing I experienced was ample interior room as we put our travel bags in the car. Hybrids and full electrics are criticized by some as being small (although, this could be propaganda based on older hybrids) — in this case, the car certainly had a lot of room.

Apart from that first impression, the next thing that hit me was that the Fusion’s acceleration was just as strong as, if not a little stronger than, that of the average mid-sized family car, and it seamlessly started the engine whenever extra power was desired, without jolting us.

Nicholas Brown Test Drives the 2014 Ford Fusion Energ. Image by Nicholas Brown / CleanTechnica / Kompulsa
Nicholas Brown Test Drives the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi PHEV. Image by Nicholas Brown / CleanTechnica / Kompulsa

I didn’t have any concern regarding range in this car. You can see how much electric range you have, and then when that runs out you are switched to gas and treat the car like you would a conventional car. On battery, you have about 21 miles of range in the Fusion Energi, and that jumps up to 620 miles if you include the range offered by a full tank of gas.

The Fusion Energi offers a very smooth and comfortable ride. It’s a quality car, corners don’t seem to have been cut anywhere.

The fuel economy of the car is excellent, of course — 100 MPGe on battery and 43 MPG on gas.

I can’t say I had any complaints about the Fusion Energi. If you’re able to pay $38,700 ($34,693 after the federal tax credit), it’s a great plug-in hybrid option. But now that there are over a dozen plug-in cars on the market, you have a lot of choice in this market. You can choose between the Fusion Energi or a plug-in with more electric range or a lower price. It really comes down to personal preferences, but I definitely think the Fusion Energi is worth a test drive and a great option for many consumers.

See the #FordNAIAS hashtag on Twitter for more about Ford’s events. For more stories like these on Cleantechnica, visit our Ford channel.

This article, My Ford Fusion Energi Test Drive, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Nicholas BrownNicholas Brown has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, geography, and much more. My website is: Kompulsa.com.