The roof covered in solar panels recharges the vehicle's batteries without the need for electricity. The American manufacturer develops the C-Max Solar Energi, which has a roof covered with solar panels to supply electricity to the vehicle's batteries. It is the first of its kind to have solar panels to recharge batteries without using the electricity grid. The solar panel system uses a special concentrator, which acts like the lens of a magnifying glass, intensifying the power of the light rays that reach the surface by a magnitude of eight.
The concentrator, which uses a special Fresnel lens, tracks the Sun's movement from east to west to maximize power generation. According to Ford, a day of light in the solar panels of the C-Max Solar Energi is equivalent to charging the vehicle with a plug for four hours, which eliminates about four metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year. With fully charged batteries, the C-Max Solar Energi has a range of 620 miles (almost a thousand kilometers) of which 21 miles (33 kilometers) are completely completed with electric power.
The vehicle is the result of Ford's collaboration with the Californian company SunPower, which provides the high-efficiency solar panels, and the Georgia Institute of Technology, which has developed the light concentrator. Ford estimates that 75 percent of the trips an average driver takes could be powered by the energy provided by the solar panels of a hybrid vehicle such as the C-Max Solar Energi.