Video: Ford CTO Discusses C-Max Solar Energi at CES 2014


There was a ton of hoopla last week over Ford’s announcement and showing off of the C-Max Solar Energi.

Now, that solar-roofed vehicle is the center of discussion at CES 2014

TechRepublic interviewed Ford CTO Paul Mascarenas at CES 2014 and one of the main topics of discussion was Ford’s idea of integrating solar into its plug-in vehicles.

Watch as Ford’s CTO explains how the system supposedly works.

Solar Energi Schematic

Solar Energi Schematic

Source: Tech Republic

Categories: Ford, Videos


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13 Comments on "Video: Ford CTO Discusses C-Max Solar Energi at CES 2014"

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If you park slightly off-center (or the Sun moves in the sky) will it melt your car with 8x the solar energy?

I was wondering the exact same thing. It is bound to mess up your paint and make your car really hot inside.

I’m fine with solar panels. I think that is great, even if it only adds 1 or 2 miles per day. But I do not like the solar canopy idea at all.

The most exciting aspect of this is the C-MAX with the powerful solar panels, without the concentrator that multiplies the sun’s power by a facto of 8.

Based on the concept calculations, each solar panel can generate 1 EV mile of power while in the sun on a daily basis, about 10 hours. The expectation is that the next gen C-MAX will offer 2 solar panels + a functional sun roof as an option, which would cost about the same as the non-functional panoramic roof at $1300.

This could offer 2 EV miles daily. On average about 14 miles a week, 60 a month or about 600 free miles annually, while parked or while driving in the sun.

Ford should offer it on other hybrid and plug-in models in the future.

Prius already offers solar panels but they are low power and can only power an internal fan.

So about $20 of electricity per year?

Lets say this is a $1000 option (no way is Ford charging less than that). So 10 people get this and we get 2 MWh of electricity per year, assuming they always park in the sun, or for the same money we get a $10k solar array optimally oriented to produce ~4kW * 20% c.f. * 24h *365d = 7 MWh of electricity per year.

There’s nothing exciting about this in my book.


Ford gets my respect for taking on this valuable idea…a car sitting outdoors for long periods of time is an excellent opportunity for solar collection.

Most houses sit outdoors for long periods of time too. Put the solar panels on them, and plug the cars into the houses.

I really don’t understand how the 8x solar concentrator isn’t going to not burn up other parts of the car not covered in solar panels. Would seem better to just leave the solar panels off the car. Today anyway, you can’t cover the car with enough panels to make it worthwhile (concentrator or not).


For a few dollars more, the solar cells could be substituted for the fresnel lens to cover the steel structure. Instead of parking your car in 8x hotter spot, it will be in 100% full shade.

Bonus: When the car leaves the spot light, the solar panel continues to generate energy.

Stop it! You’re making too much sense.

You beat me to it Brian. For info about a couple of solar car ports that are real, not poorly concieved concepts, see the article at

I’m astonished that Ford would float such an obviously complicated and inferior solution to a simple solar carport. To accomplish what, save a few bucks on solar cells? The cells are cheap compared to the installation and structure.

Stationary cells don’t add weight or complexity to the car, and as you pointed out, create power all day long even if your car is elsewhere. Like work for example. (Unless Ford is thinking that a 15′ high carport that only works with a specially fitted C-Max is a practical solution for workplace charging, instead of a stationary carport that charges and shades any car parked there.

The first clue that is marketing gas is that in this “concept” the car actually has to roll back or forth – autonomously – though out the day to track the sun. yeah. Most parking lots and driveways are set up for that, right?

This is the most idiotic idea I have ever seen. Of all the good ideas that exists in peoples mind how did this one get anywhere close to even being a concept?

I can just imagine how they laughed at this and joked about doing this and then someone for some reason didn’t understand that it was a joke.

Dude, Ford should get an octocopter that carries a solar concentrator that you can launch when you drive. That way the octocopter can just calculate the perfect angle for maximum sun coverage from the sky…simple!