When we think of hybrid vehicles, what comes to mind is a car that uses both gas and electricity. Ford has come up with something new.
The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept is the first-of-its-kind sun-powered vehicle. It is a hybrid vehicle that does not depend on a connection to the electric grid for fuel.
The Ford C-Max Solar Energi Concept uses a special concentrator that acts like a magnifying glass. It directs rays from the sun onto solar panels that have been placed on the roof of the vehicle. As someone who lives in “sunny California”, I am very interested in Ford’s new idea.
Right now, the Ford C-Max Solar Energy Concept is a concept vehicle (as you may have guessed from the name). It takes a day’s worth of sunlight to deliver the same performance that one would get from Ford’s conventional C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid (which draws power from the electric grid). The C-MAX Solar Energi Concept uses renewable energy from the sun.
A quick look at the stats about the C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid will give you a good idea of what the C-Max Solar Energy Concept is expected to be able to do. The C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid gets an EPA-estimated 108 MPGe city and 92 MPGe highway (which is a combined 100 MPGe).
The C-Max Solar Energi Concept is estimated to reduce the annual greenhouse gas emissions that a typical vehicle owner would produce by four metric tons. Ford has data that suggests that the sun could power up to 75% of all trips made by the average driver of a solar hybrid vehicle.
You can check out Ford’s C-Max Solar Energi Concept at the 2014 International CES. They will be at the Ford book (LVCC North Hall #2222).
My first impression of the car is that is a very nice looking vehicle. It defiantly has a Ford family resemblance. From the Grill and headlights on back, you can tell it’s a new Ford. The C-MAX is a name plate that has been used by Ford since 2003 in Europe and late this year, they are bringing it to the US. Totally redesigned for 2013, the C-MAX is built on the global chassis that the Ford Focus is based on, and will be built in Wayne Michigan for the Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid (Energi) versions.
Our drive started off in West Hollywood California towards the coast and up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu. We drove in a good mix of Highway, City, and Mountains. In the 100 or so miles we put on the car, it averaged 38MPG according to the on-board readout. The EPA Estimates that the C-MAX Hybrid will get 47mpg highway and 47mpg city if driven conservatively.
The C-MAX has 50 more horsepower than the Prius V, which is a similar sized vehicle, and gets 7 more MPG. I did get a chance to drive the Prius V as a comparison and in the Mountains, the C-MAX definitely didn’t seem to be working as hard to climb the hills. I could really feel that extra 50hp!
The C-MAX Hybrid will be hitting the Ford showrooms sometime later this year at a price of around $25k.
If I were in the market for a small car (Hybrid or not) the C-MAX would be high on my list.
Today August 22 Alan Mulally Ford Chief Executive Officer and Toyota President Akio Toyoda agreed to a memorandum of understanding to share information on the development of a new hybrid power train. One of the biggest problems with today’s hybrid trucks are their expense. Toyota is an acknowledge leader in the area of hybrid technology. While Ford is a leader in truck manufacturing, the Ford F150 being the best-selling truck in the US. By working together they hope to take advantage of their separate areas of strength to produce hybrid trucks that are affordable without losing capability. They will work together on the development of the technology, but will use the resulting technology to build their own systems to integrate within their vehicles. By working together they hope to take advantage of their separate areas of strength to produce hybrid trucks that are affordable without losing capability. The development of hybrid technology for trucks is necessary to met proposed fuel economy standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Derrick Kuzak, Ford Chief of Product Development answered some questions about this subject on this video.
The two companies also agreed to work together on their existing telematic systems standards and technology. They hope to create a safer, more secure and consumer friendly in-car telematics system. Ford currently has the MyFordTouch and SNYC, while Toyota uses G-Link, G-Book and a new system called Entune. They are only working together on the technology and standards and will continue to develop their own products and systems. This is just a memorandum of understanding and a full agreement will not be signed until next year. Toyota and Ford still remain competitors, but working together in this case make sense to both of their bottom lines. It will be interesting to see how far this cooperation goes and if creates a successful product in the end for either company.
Want to give your tired old computer a speed boost? Listen up — this is a good one!
A few days ago my 17” MacBook Pro shut down a couple of times due to overheating issues, so I ended up taking it to the local Mac dealer to get it cleaned out – a truck is a surprisingly dirty operating environment. The machine was full of dust, which was preventing the internal fans from functioning properly.
When I dropped the Macbook off, almost as an afterthought I decided I would have them install a larger hard drive and clone the data over while they had the machine opened up. I ended up buying a 500 gigabyte Seagate Momentous XT Hybrid hard drive as the replacement drive. It was somewhat more expensive than a non-hybrid solid state drive, but the sales pitch on the outside of the retail package touting greatly-enhanced overall performance of this hybrid drive convinced me to give it a try.
The Seagate Momentous XT 500 gigabyte solid state hard drive comes with a 4 gigabyte solid state drive, with the rest of the storage being a conventional 7200 RPM 2.5” SATA laptop hard drive. The drive contains some built-in intelligence that automatically copies the most frequently-accessed computer files that will give the most boost to overall performance, including significantly faster boot-up times.
Does it work? All I can say is “Wow!” I am amazed at the performance boost. The machine boots quicker, and overall it has a much more snappy feel. The Seagate Momentous XT 500 gigabyte hard drive is worth every penny as an upgrade.
The old adage about speeding up a computer by maxing out RAM is still true. However, now there’s a new performance-boosting item that can be added to the list: add the appropriate hybrid hard drive for an even greater performance boost. With the addition of this drive, this 17” Macbook Pro is exhibiting better performance than ever.
Needless to say, I’m impressed. If you’ve maxed out your computer’s RAM, get one of these drives: I promise you that you won’t be disappointed with the performance boost.