Giving Tesla Motors (TSLA) a run for its money, Ford (F) debuted an electric vehicle that uses solar panels in the roof to charge itself — a substantial concept that could help move the electric car industry forward.
The second-largest US automakers will officially debut the C-Max Solar Energi at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas beginning Jan. 7.
“We are starting to see a convergence that can make these things possible,” Mike Tinskey, director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure, said in an interview (via Bloomberg).
The vehicle can travel about 21 miles (34 kilometers) using only electric power and has a total range of about 620 miles. It has 300 watts to 350 watts of SunPower Corp. (SPWR) solar cells in the roof and may portend a future of mass-produced rechargeable cars that don’t need to be plugged in.
The concept includes a canopy-like parking structure that uses Fresnel lenses to focus sunlight on the car and boost efficiency of the solar cells. It was developed with the Georgia Institute of Technology and shifts the car’s position throughout the day as the sun moves across the sky.
Ford, of course, is pushing into Tesla’s turf as strongly as possible, seeing the future in electric cars coming — but the need for more advanced vehicles for the general public to accept them en mass.
Ford has stated that it’s sold some 85,000 hybrids and electric vehicles in 2013.
2013 wasn’t exactly a boom year for the electric vehicle — but the industry is still growing.
Ford’s new debut adds a new concept that other automakers are sure to add to their electric cars. But will 2014 be a boom year for the vehicles?
Response to Ford’s electric car debut may help investors see how the public will embrace more electric models in the future.
TSLA stock was only slightly up a half percent year to date — basically the same as Ford stock.