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Ford Will Demo Solar-Charged Car At CES

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the yes-please-but-also-a-swappable-battery dept.

Transportation 179

Lucas123 writes "Ford plans to demonstrate its first solar-powered hybrid vehicle at CES next week. The Ford CMAX Solar Energi Concept car will have 1.5 square meters of solar photovoltaic cells on its roof to generate power to charge its battery. By themselves, the PV solar panels generate only 300W of power — not enough to charge the vehicle's battery in one day. Ford, however, said the car will be coupled with a carport that has solar concentrating lens atop it. The magnifying lens, called a Fresnel lens, will concentrate about 10 times the solar energy so the vehicle can be recharged in a single day — the same speed with which a standard hybrid charges using a plug." (Of course, some charge faster than others.)

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Hope it doesn't melt the car! (4, Interesting)

DaTrueDave (992134) | about 8 months ago | (#45848963)

Stack of pennies reduced to molten nickel by fresnal lens: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GcL7s9aX494 [youtube.com]

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (3, Interesting)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | about 8 months ago | (#45849035)

Zinc. Melting nickel takes a little more.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849495)

drinkypoo [slashdot.org] is a disgusting, smelly, fat slob. He has never had sex and he still lives with his mother. No woman would ever want him unless they are disgustingly fat too. Anybody, even Justin Bieber, could kick his obese, flabby, gelatin-like ass.

I tracked down this picture of drinkypoo [ytimg.com]

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849053)

The question is, how many pennies do you have to melt to get a nickle? If it's less than five, you've got profit!

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849063)

Wow, transmuting pennies (copper-plated zinc) to nickel, that's amazing! Just watch the radiation flux from that....

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849085)

Since pennies were made of copper pre-1982 and zinc (with copper shell) post 1982, it would be a neat trick to see a stack of pennies melt into nickel. Did the fresnel lens harness some time of matter transmutation device?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penny_(United_States_coin)#History_of_composition

Re: Hope it doesn't melt the car! (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 8 months ago | (#45849087)

First, those pennies aren't made of nickel, they're made of copper coated zinc.

Second, pennies don't melt when exposed to a fresnel lens of that size, they VAPORIZE! Or at least the zinc does anyway

Re: Hope it doesn't melt the car! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849171)

Wow, you're the 5th person to hammer my OP on an innocent mistatement.

You guys really are a bunch of autistic/asperger fags. I bet most posters here spent New Years midnight fapping to porn using their social anxiety disorder tears as lubricant for their fleshlight. The closest they'll ever get to another woman. I otoh had an ffm threesome between my girlfriend an my childhood best friend even if the difference between zinc and nickel escapes me. Congrats on winning this one.

Re: Hope it doesn't melt the car! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849275)

"I otoh had an ffm threesome "

"pictures or it didn't happen"

Re: Hope it doesn't melt the car! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849593)

It's awesome that you were able to manipulate your girlfriend, who apparently is an emotional cripple, into servicing you and another woman.

Indications are that you will die alone.

Re: Hope it doesn't melt the car! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849599)

The closest they'll ever get to another woman.

That's not a complete sentence.

Re: Hope it doesn't melt the car! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849959)

Hi, you must be new here.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (3, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 8 months ago | (#45849103)

Concept cars are never manufactured. But this concept is more ridiculous than most.

Even if the car isn't melted, it's going to be obscenely hot to get in after a summer day's charging. Even if you can, you'll need most of the stored solar power to run air-conditioning.

Besides, cars are generally driven during the day, and parked at home at night, when the sun isn't shining.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (2)

mwvdlee (775178) | about 8 months ago | (#45849185)

The solar power captured by the fresnel lens wouldn't need to be very focused, as there's a rather large solar panel are and if the solar panel is efficient enough, is shouldn't let much heat through.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 8 months ago | (#45849529)

It won't let much light through, but solar panels are dark and they get hot. They'll need some really good insulation under that panel to keep the interior from heating up when its under the lens. Better have a good & efficient AC unit in there.

Why does it get hot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850271)

That's right: it absorbs the radiation recieved and can only thermalise it.

Oh, hang on, no, the solar panel actually can do something with the energy other than thermalise it! It can turn it into electricity!

So it being dark isn't really a problem: it would be the same if it were brilliant white, but less effective.

But I guess it's an electric car, therefore it cannot ever work. Because.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (1)

danlip (737336) | about 8 months ago | (#45849669)

I don't know what you mean by "efficient enough", but typically solar PV is around 20% efficient or less. So most of the light is probably convert to heat.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 8 months ago | (#45849939)

They are saying that the lens provides for 10 times as much solar power. Well roughly speaking that means about 10 times as much heat concentrated on the car too. PV cells are not efficient enough to reduce that heat much.

And if it's not focussed that much, then it is concentrating light on the windows and body work, as well as the PV panels.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (2)

FishTankX (1539069) | about 8 months ago | (#45849505)

The obvious way around this is to have a heat exchanger under the solar panels, then use some energy to cool the solar panels through the radiator. A car's radiator should be able to handle ~2kw incoming heat load, with just a pump. It would help improve efficency as well, since solar panels charge better when they're cool.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 8 months ago | (#45850451)

The obvious way around this is to have a heat exchanger under the solar panels

A more obvious way around it is to have the panels feed their power into the grid, so that they can be productive whether the car is in the carport or not. Then charge the car from the grid so it can still be charged at night, on cloudy days, or when parked somewhere else.

Re:Hope it doesn't melt the car! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850507)

This car is on fire!
Carnuba wax has a flash point of 282F.

The Walkie-Talkie in London causes sidewalk parking temperatures as high as 199F.
Now imagine what 10x concentration from a fryscraper would do.

Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45848997)

I wonder how many fires this sucker is going to start?

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (4, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45849181)

I wonder how many people are going to actually install the car-port? Who is going to fight the zoning issues, get building permits, put up with an ugly structure, and a car that moves by itself to stay in the Fresnel lens sweet spot? How many bikes, toys, and other associated back yard objects get run over?

I suppose the canopy could slide a cover over the lens when the car is absent.

But who wants to climb into an 800 degree car, and spend half the power gained running air conditioning units to cool it down?

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

cusco (717999) | about 8 months ago | (#45849361)

I think when the car is gone the carport could double as an industrial oven.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849407)

I have a large parabolic reflector that I sometimes use to focus concentrated solar energy at random locations on my neighbor's property. It only takes a few seconds to start smoking and eventually creates a flame if I leave it long enough. My neighbor thinks his property is haunted but I laugh so hard when I see him running around the yard with a pail of water it's worth the risk of being found out.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (4, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 8 months ago | (#45849465)

I have a few things to add as well:

Solar PV cells don't work well when they get hot, which is why we don't see lens technology on panels unless it is a very small one.

Other than the no-plug aspect, why even bother with this? Instead, make a carport or pole barn, plop some solar panels on that, connect those to an inverter or charge controller, and plug that into the vehicle. It would gain more electricity overall that can be used for the vehicle compared to a Frenel lens series, and it won't fry the cat when he or she plops down by the car for an afternoon nap and the sunbeam shifts, or the vehicle moves back and Pirelli processes Fluffy.

Even better, since the vehicle is likely at an office, add a battery bank. Then, the vehicle can charge a night via just the stored electricity, or a combination of that and mains power.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#45849603)

won't fry the cat

That's not a bug, it's a feature! How else do I keep the neighbor's cat off my paint job?

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850491)

won't fry the cat

That's not a bug, it's a feature! How else do I keep the neighbor's cat off my paint job?

I'm pretty sure you would not be able to remove the cat from your paint job once it gets sunlight-etched onto the hood.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45849691)

> and it won't fry the cat when he or she plops down by the car for an afternoon nap and the sunbeam shifts,

Although, that would be really funny.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45849803)

Other than the no-plug aspect, why even bother with this?

Simple.

Driving electric cars now isn't like a lot of people think. You get in your car with your ~80 mile range, and you just go about your day. When you happen to park where there's a public charger, you top off while you're in the grocery store or watching a movie. Your current ~80 mile range either gets pushed back up to 80, or you get a few miles added onto it. You do not drive from charger to charger.

Having a solar panel on the roof does exactly what the chargers littered around town do -- they extend your mileage by a tiny bit while you go about your day.

The report is vague on details, but this might give the average electric-only driver an extra mile or so for every hour in the sun.

[n.b. I'm a Leaf owner.]

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (3, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45849975)

You do not drive from charger to charger.

As a leaf owner, you know this isn't true.
You know you never get into your car without a thought about where your next charger is, you avoid any trips that even put you close to your maximum range. Your mind is very much concerned with where chargers are.

And I'd bet you have access to another gas powered car which you use for anything even close to your maximum range.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (5, Informative)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45850637)

As a leaf owner, you know this isn't true.

There's 500+ chargers in my city. I know that in nearly 7,000 miles of electric driving that I've never been more than 5 miles away from a charger. [To be precise, I was, by Google Maps, 5.1 miles away from a charger on Christmas day, when visiting my folks in their retirement community.] I drive places, and I plug in when a public charger is convenient. I took a look at where I drove before I made my decision to get one - and I found that my needs were served by the range offered plus some occasional mileage bumps by public chargers.

There's a week or two after you get your Leaf that you have range anxiety. Once you get to the end of those first few weeks without running out of electricity, you know that unless you're going somewhere strange, your 80 mile range (plus occasional bumps from public chargers) gets the job done.

In-city, 35-mph driving gets you way more than 80, but my real-world, mostly-freeway gets me about 84 -- 3.9miles per kWh.]

And I'd bet you have access to another gas powered car which you use for anything even close to your maximum range.

I drove to Albuquerque last month. I rented a car.

Look: Some people drive in places and in ways where a Leaf isn't a practical vehicle for them. They shouldn't buy one. I'm not one of those people.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | about 8 months ago | (#45850593)

They left out that the extra charging would only be at peak. The sun does move so unless you have a tracking mirror you will have the spot moving all over the place.
Oh Ford this is must the 21st century version of this https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Nucleon [wikipedia.org]

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (2)

CubicleZombie (2590497) | about 8 months ago | (#45849677)

I wonder how many people are going to actually install the car-port?

Most people who buy hybrids do it so they can drive solo in the commuter lane, so I expect this car will spend its entire life running off its gasoline backup engine.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

CaptainLard (1902452) | about 8 months ago | (#45849747)

Perhaps, over the several year development cycle, ford engineers will also realize the issues you've brought up in your 30 second analysis and potentially even address some of them before/if they bring it to market.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45850019)

Like Chevy did with the Volt, where the still lose money on every single sale, and most users still run on its gas engine 80% of the time.

Re:Do not stare at Fresnel with remaining eye (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about 8 months ago | (#45850117)

I'm more worried about it incinerating my dog.

But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849013)

don't even think about sitting down on the leather upholstery wearing shorts!

All I Want (2)

sycodon (149926) | about 8 months ago | (#45849563)

Is something that would power a fan so that the car doesn't turn into an oven during the day.

Not for people in big citys or plcaes big snow (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 8 months ago | (#45849025)

Not for people in big citys or plcaes with big snow.

Also how much more is this on top of the same car with out solar? a lot more then what power will cost on it's own?

Re:Not for people in big citys or plcaes big snow (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45849819)

The infrastructure for electric vehicles has a very long payoff, so absolutely it'll cost more than electricity. This thing might generate a penny an hour worth of electricity for a third of the day...

So, it's about choosing your priorities.

In terms of the overall system (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849047)

Instead of building a special garage and moving the car, wouldn't it be better to build some "fat" solar panels that have multiple PV cells and plastic lenses in them? The fat panels could use little motors to move the lenses over the cells. As an added bonus, you'd reduce the PV costs for solar systems in all applications, not just car charging. You'd also have a normal looking garage.

Ford's system sounds like the punchline to a Polish joke. I can go there, because I'm 50% Polish.

Re:In terms of the overall system (1)

arbiterxero (952505) | about 8 months ago | (#45849201)

then you can only half go there.

Re:In terms of the overall system (1)

icebike (68054) | about 8 months ago | (#45849307)

My thoughts exactly.
All six people who actually want to put up this monstrosity in their yard will be have their fire insurance go up, their neighbors bitching, their zoning commission objecting and the fire marshal knocking on their door.

It looks to me that Ford was trying strenuously to avoid collection and storage systems that might integrate into existing buildings.

Focal length? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849061)

Just make sure that the lens doesn't focus the energy to a single point at ground level...

(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 8 months ago | (#45849101)

...he climb on da car roof, go BOOM!

.

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45849191)

Well, you have to admit, the cat did want a warm place to lie on ...

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849211)

Good, because the neighbor's cat doesn't seem to care about where it's allowed to go, and the neighbor doesn't seem to care.

Killing cats that wander onto your property should be legal.

Dogs have to be on a fucking leash, why not cats?

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849449)

The neighbors kid doesn't listen either. I should be allowed to kill him too, right (unless he's properly leashed, of course)? Squirting him with a hose is just too hard. I can think of no better word to describe you: asshole.

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849527)

If the neighbors kid was ripping up my garden (or taking a shit in it), I might be tempted to kill it too.

But the assholes who own cats and seem to think they should be free to roam around should find themselves with one less cat.

I don't give a damn about your cat. In fact, I despise the little fucker.

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850133)

You should build a greenhouse, then. In the movies, all sociopaths who garden have greenhouses.

.

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849683)

You think killing cats is the same as killing human children.

I can think of no better word to describe you: asshole.

Re:UK EpicFail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850405)

He is British...

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850035)

Dogs have to be on a fucking leash, why not cats?

I'm guessing by your expressed sentiments that you have never tried putting a cat on a leash.

Re:(tsk tsk tsk) The poor puddy tat... (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 8 months ago | (#45849725)

So the question we all want to know is can this actually happen?

Will a bird/cat/rodent be fried when they enter the beam?

Well we know the car roof has an area of 1.5 square meters and the lens provides 10 times the energy that would fall on the car roof. Using standard insolation of 1000 watts/m^2, we can deduce that the solar radiation flux on the car after the lens is 10000 watts/m^2.

So is this enough to fry a cat? The answer is.... yes, but it wouldn't happen instantly! According to wolfram alpha 10000 watts/m^2 is 10 times the radiation flux necessary to cause harm to biological tissue!

This is also in the range to singe holes in black pieces of paper!

Worst case, our poor puddy cat will probably make it out with some singed fur, but should otherwise be all right!

Depends on how long your commute is (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45849175)

If you drive less than 10 miles to get to work, as most of my relatives do, you could get a full charge by the end of the day, in Seattle or Santa Barbara, on a typical day.

If you drive to work in LA where it takes more than an hour to get to or from work, you'd want to plug in.

Re:Depends on how long your commute is (2)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 8 months ago | (#45849313)

If you drive to work in LA where it takes more than an hour to get to or from work, you'd want to plug in.

Why would you need to charge if after driving 2 miles?

Re:Depends on how long your commute is (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45849369)

Why would you need to charge if after driving 2 miles?

My cousin in West Seattle drives his Chevy Volt to work and plugs it in when he gets to work. But sometimes he goes to a park nearby, so it might be useful to have a full charge after.

Some people like to have the maximum range when they leave work. This would also help if you had to wait in a ferry line on one of the islands - it would charge up while you waited.

Re:Depends on how long your commute is (1)

sunderland56 (621843) | about 8 months ago | (#45849545)

This would also help if you had to wait in a ferry line

I think you missed the point - if you're stopped in traffic, or stopped in a queue, an electric car should consume zero power. (Or essentially zero - small draw for the radio/instruments and brake lights, but nothing for forward motion, since you're not moving).

So a 2-mile commute should consume pretty much the same battery power, no matter if those two miles took you 2 minutes or 2 hours to travel.

Re:Depends on how long your commute is (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 8 months ago | (#45849733)

Most of the people who live in Seattle that I know don't wait in long lineups while driving - we tend not to use the freeways, those are for suburbanites.

I suppose if I had to sit in stuck traffic on the I-90 or SR-520 bridge this might be a concern, but the question was about why I would need to charge after driving 2 miles. Since I've lived here for a few decades, I rarely go on routes that sit and do nothing.

Regardless, this would extend your range if you do spend most of the time not moving, even if you use air conditioning (we mostly just use heaters in Seattle, and rarely use air conditioning), preferring to roll down the windows and enjoy the sun instead.

Think of it as a booster pack, depending on what type of commute you have. If it's mostly sitting stuck in an unmoving grid, you might not even have to charge up at your destination, but if it's one where you spend most of the time in motion, you probably could hope to recharge only part while at work, if you live a fair distance away.

Re:Depends on how long your commute is (1)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 8 months ago | (#45849517)

The radio drained the battery

Re:Depends on how long your commute is (1)

mythosaz (572040) | about 8 months ago | (#45849841)

You mean the small 12v battery that most of these cars have?

Re:Depends on how long your commute is (1)

Art Challenor (2621733) | about 8 months ago | (#45850407)

Hadn't thought of that. In my case it would be the GPS telling me that there is a faster route right before it tells me there is another 25 minute delay.

Good to have around (1)

Animats (122034) | about 8 months ago | (#45849189)

It's good to have solar-powered things spread around, in case of major power grid problems. As LED street lights are installed, some of them should be solar powered. Especially in areas with a history of floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.

Re:Good to have around (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 8 months ago | (#45849435)

Would it not be simpler to stop installing street lights outside of high pedestrian areas and intersections? Streetlights cost significant amounts of money while hurting drivers night vision and directly polluting the night sky.

Re:Good to have around (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 8 months ago | (#45850217)

Would it not be simpler to stop installing street lights outside of high pedestrian areas and intersections? Streetlights cost significant amounts of money while hurting drivers night vision and directly polluting the night sky.

I saw some very nifty motion-sensitive streetlights once; they were also directed and only flooded the sidewalks, not the roadway. Lots of implications with that design; still not sure whether it's better or worse for pedestrian safety. Definitely better for energy usage though.

Acrylic carport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849203)

Really Ford? Do you even look at how and where your customers park or any other demographics of your customers? The vast majority of the population doesn't have a place to put a carport to park their solar powered car under. Nice try, but go back to the drawing board, this concept, is just that, a concept and one that should have never had more any more time put into it than 5 minutes at a design meeting The carport idea should have been struck dead 30 seconds into the conversation, taking away the Fresnel lens idea and moving forward with a truly viable solution.

Those who have to park on the street or in a garage can't use this, ever. Most HOA's for most housing developments won't allow this thing either as it's not on par with any architectural limitations of the community. Figure out how to put those lenses on the roof and look like it's part of the car and dump the stupid carport idea. Unless of course, your target customer for an electric car is someone who lives in the middle of nowhere, who most likely has to drive more than 20 miles just for fuel, groceries, possibly even mail, etc, then by all means, spend millions of dollars to target a very small faction of the population.

Re:Acrylic carport? (1)

Ichijo (607641) | about 8 months ago | (#45849523)

People who have to park on the street likely can't afford an electric car anyway.

Re:Acrylic carport? (1)

neonKow (1239288) | about 8 months ago | (#45849893)

Read: "I live in a city that has limited parking space."

concept cars .. (4, Insightful)

savuporo (658486) | about 8 months ago | (#45849255)

There is a parallel universe of concept cars somewhere, where you can drive a microturbine powered Jaguar, solar charged Ford, Mitsubishi EVO with in-wheel motors and ATTESA-like control, there are probably a bunch of nuclear powered Ford Nucleons whizzing about as well, and everyone swaps batteries in project Better Places station like there is no tomorrow. The logo of Shell is largely replaced by Duracell in cityscapes.

Meanwhile in the real world, we can all buy a Tesla Model S for a low starting price of cool $70K or thereabouts and hope they install a fast charger somewhere close by. And of course, wait in line.

Re:concept cars .. (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45849707)

Plus, the cars fly, airplanes are nuclear powered and we have a colony on the moon.

Re:concept cars .. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850041)

Reminds me. I must have my robot wife take my jetpack to the cleaners, the darn ozone is so thick it's staining the chrome accents.

Re:concept cars .. (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | about 8 months ago | (#45849935)

This ignores the point of concept cars. Those solar panels aren't generating power so much as hype.

Fresnel lens, concentrate about 10x the energy? (0)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 8 months ago | (#45849309)

As far as I understand this, regardless what type of lens you have to magnify, if you're going to get about 10x the light, then the lens has to be about 10x the size of the area that would normally receive 1x the sunlight. Does this mean that there will be a huge lens atop the car? If so, will that be expensive? If so, will my car insurance go up?

Re:Fresnel lens, concentrate about 10x the energy? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849397)

Intuitively this isn't true. Think of light approaching the lens at an oblique angle (e.g. indirect sunlight from the sky) that would normally miss the car. Different kinds of lenses may either bend that light to hit the car or not. So, the type of lens does affect how big it needs to be.

Re:Fresnel lens, concentrate about 10x the energy? (1)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | about 8 months ago | (#45849549)

I doubt that they're going full nonimaging optics [wikipedia.org] in the carport, although I could well be wrong. But that's mainly to make tracking easier (or unnecessary); practically, there just isn't any way you're going to get more than one sunlight-square-meter of power out of a square meter of roof, period.

As car concepts go, this one's a bit sillier than most. But once photovoltaics get cheap and robust enough to be used as a car finish, why the hell not?

Re:Fresnel lens, concentrate about 10x the energy? (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 8 months ago | (#45849497)

Not quite 10 times, if it is 10 times the amount of light that would normally hit a horizontal panel, mirrors that track the sun through different angles will provide a longer exposure time as well as increase area. Maybe you could do it with 5-7 times the area. However, the article shows the car 'moving' during the day to stay in the focal point. If this is true, then it would only work on driveways that are oriented in the right direction, and the effectiveness would be greatly diminished at certain times of the year. So you might get a full charge on long summer day, but don't expect it in winter.

Re:Fresnel lens, concentrate about 10x the energy? (1)

MindStalker (22827) | about 8 months ago | (#45849521)

Didn't read the headline or article correctly did you? The car will come with a carport (open garage) that you park the car under. While parked the carport/garage will contain a lens as its roof which will concentrate the light onto a small spot on the roof.

Re:Fresnel lens, concentrate about 10x the energy? (3, Insightful)

BringsApples (3418089) | about 8 months ago | (#45850685)

No, I evidently didn't read it correctly at all, but I think it was because the whole "The Ford CMAX Solar Energi Concept car will have 1.5 square meters of solar photovoltaic cells on its roof to generate power to charge its battery." threw me off. Hell, I thought "carport" was some fancy name for the thing that'd mount atop. Derp!

If this is the case, seems like it'd make more sense to leave the carport out of the picture, keep the lens (put it in your yard somewhere?), and move the solar panels from the car to below the lens.

Re:Fresnel lens, concentrate about 10x the energy? (1)

PRMan (959735) | about 8 months ago | (#45849625)

No. People are getting 2000 degrees F instead of 100 degrees F with a Fresnel lens pulled from an old rear-projection TV set.

Put the panels on the canopy! (5, Insightful)

beltsbear (2489652) | about 8 months ago | (#45849353)

Why put them on the car? Put 10x the panels on the canopy and run a WIRE to the car to charge it. The panels could go to the grid if the car is not present. The weight savings will help the car, they will be cheaper panels for the wattage on the canopy and you can have a real amount of them. Panels on top of the car will often be wasted being covered by trees, parking garages and being at a less then optimum angle.

Re:Put the panels on the canopy! (2)

myrdos2 (989497) | about 8 months ago | (#45849503)

Because this is a PR stunt.

Re:Put the panels on the canopy! (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45849741)

Because this is a PR stunt.

It would be even cooler if they smoked the household cat in the process. I might see that as a feature. (My wife puts out food for strays, and the house is regularly mobbed by cats and raccoons, who sometimes fight with each other. It's one of those things where you go "yes, dear" and try not to listen to the noise.)

Re:Put the panels on the canopy! (1)

devjoe (88696) | about 8 months ago | (#45849701)

Your idea will also help people who commute to work, whose cars will not BE under the canopy during most of the daylight hours.

Why on the car? (2)

ThurstonMoore (605470) | about 8 months ago | (#45849399)

Wouldn't it be better to just build the solar cell into the carport so it can charge a battery all day while the car is driving around, then plug the car into the carport to be charged by the battery at night?

Re:Why on the car? (1)

roc97007 (608802) | about 8 months ago | (#45849757)

Wouldn't it be better to just build the solar cell into the carport so it can charge a battery all day while the car is driving around, then plug the car into the carport to be charged by the battery at night?

Because then it wouldn't be a solar powered car. I mean, it technically would, but it wouldn't *look like* a solar powered car.

How wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849421)

So 1.5 square meters of solar cells. How wonderful. Lets do a bit of physics to see exactly what we are getting, shall we? Solar insolation (not insulation, but insolation), is the amount of energy produced by the sun for a given area. Its constant, unless you want to double it by installing a second sun (have fun with that). On the earth, its about 1366 watts per square metre. Lets say that Ford's panels are better than what the best labs can experimentally produce: 50% efficient. So we have 683 watts per square meter. There are 1.5 square meters of panels on the car, so we get 1024 watts. Lets assume day is 12 hours and night is 12 hours, so we get 1024 watts for 12 hours or 12288 watt hours per day. Now, there are 746 watts for 1 horsepower. These solar panels can produce 1024/746 horsepower or 1.37 horsepower/hour. If the car uses a 50 horsepower engine, 50 horsepower /1.37 horsepower/hour =36.49 hours. If you let the car charge for 36.49 hours you can drive it for 1 hour. There are 12 daylight hours per day, so 36.49 / 12=3.04. If you let the car charge for 3.04 days, you can drive it for 1 hour, assuming you can store all the charge, clouds and rain don't affect anything, and you are happy driving a 50 horsepower car.

Re:How wonderful (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 8 months ago | (#45849533)

On the earth, its about 1366 watts per square metre....Lets assume day is 12 hours and night is 12 hours, so we get 1024 watts for 12 hours

That's 1366W/square meter at the top of the atmosphere (i.e. in orbit). Isolation at ground level is considerably less.

Also, the 1366W/m^2 figure is the mean isolation of the entire planet. It already accounts for it being night in half the world.

Why not make solar cells part of the carport? (1)

iamacat (583406) | about 8 months ago | (#45849447)

If they are not useful for charging on the go, it's dead weight that hurts efficiency. Also I am sure the car gets very hot from concentrated solar power.

Re:Why not make solar cells part of the carport? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849855)

Good point, and then it can power other things as well.

My Prius has a solar array on the roof. It doesn't charge the battery, but can run a fan to keep the car at ambient temperature during hot weather...something that should be offered in every car used in the south, or in the summer. No longer do I get temperatures over 100 inside the car, and I never have to leave the windows open anywhere, including in higher crime areas. (This is very useful for a car that doesn't have a lockable trunk if someone can get into the car.)

Suntan (1)

0xG (712423) | about 8 months ago | (#45849681)

A good-sized fresnel lens like that would certainly help me work on my sun tan!

Anyone every burn insects with solar power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45849829)

Where;s the baby Harold? I thought I heard him screaming a minute ago.
He's strapped in his car seat. I think I left it on the car roof. Don't worry, he's fine.

carport is ridiculous, but the rest is good (1)

danlip (737336) | about 8 months ago | (#45849871)

I agree the carport idea is ridiculous, but I generally like this idea. I drive my car only a few miles each day, and leave it parked in the sun all day while I am at work, so I could probably get most of my power from solar. We use my wife's car for long trips anyways.

This is just a variant of the plug-in hybrid they already sell. Still plugs in. Still has a gas engine for range. Only has the battery capacity for 21 electric-only miles, which is the weakest point I see.

Even better if it could power aircon while absent (1)

Engineer_Calvin (3476293) | about 8 months ago | (#45849921)

I recall another manufacturer saying they would use solar panels to power the aircon at a low level so that the car wasn't an oven on your return to it. Far more useful to the average user than the warm fuzzies of getting 300W assisting in propelling the car.

Dear Ford.... (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#45849985)

Stop with the stupid.

The Car port, if covered with conventional solar panels will be a lot cheaper, easier to make, and will not require special manufacturing processes to create special lenses that follow the sun.

Less than 1/2 their price and I can make you a carport that will be double their power with conventional 200Watt panels. Plus require ZERO maintenance except for washing them once a year.

Re:Dear Ford.... (2)

cryptoluddite (658517) | about 8 months ago | (#45850731)

Having solar panels on the car means that the car can generate enough electricity to overcome battery self-discharge. So if you leave it parked somewhere, like say the airport, for a couple weeks or even months you don't come back to an dead car.

Tesla draws about 50w all the time. A car without Tesla's poor standby electronics could even get a tiny bit of charge over time from the roof panels.

10X? (1)

scotts13 (1371443) | about 8 months ago | (#45850189)

I have no problem with putting, what, 20 square feet (maximum) of solar cells on the car roof. It'll trickle a little power into the batteries, and it's kinda cool, even if the weight and cost of the cells makes it impractical. But, a 200 square foot optical carport lens sounds ludicrous. Ugly, expensive, and requires an always-on, guaranteed 100% foolproof object avoidance system, so the car doesn't run over toys, pets, or toddlers as it shuffles back and forth under the lens.

You may say it's a "concept car" to promote solar power, but believe me - this stupidity isn't doing solar power any favors.

PR meets Engineering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850397)

Yup . . . THIS is the "hot new car" Ford was promising us!

What could possibly go wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#45850437)

...kids playing under the fresnel lens again?

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