First, there was the hybrid. Then, there were the plug-in electric vehicles. Now, we have the Ford C-MAX Solar Energi concept car.
Think of it as a plug-in electric car with solar panels on the roof. With this vehicle, drivers don’t need a cord to get the power. The idea: leave the car in the sun and let the solar panels do the work.
Innovative, yes, but there’s a problem—getting the solar panels to actually charge the cars take a while. That’s where researchers from Georgia Tech come in. Their job is to figure out how to make the panels more efficient. So the researchers turned to the same technology you see in a lighthouse.
They’re developing a canopy to go over the car. The canopy magnifies the sunlight, making sure the sun always hits the solar panel’s sweet spot. In fact, the car will even move itself to catch the sun at a perfect angle.
The Solar C-MAX is a concept car, so it may never hit the showrooms. But professor Bert Bras, a researcher at Georgia Tech, says it’s the idea that matters.