Solar cocoon is Ford’s new idea for electric cars

FORD Motors, the most famous auto concern in the United States, periodically created projects that no one believed in. 100 years ago, the legendary Henry Ford was the first to use the assembly line, 50 years ago, his grandson created a racing car that won on the Le Mans track against Enzo Ferrari’s invincible cars at that time. And today, the company filed a patent for a deployable photovoltaic cocoon for a car with batteries that far exceed the size of the body.

Design features of deployable solar panels

Ford’s design consists of a box-like device on the roof and compactly folded panels in it, having a working surface area of up to 50 m 2 when opened. The creators called their invention “flexible shield” or “bubble”.

flexible shield

A powerful pump is used to deploy the shield. The return to the initial state is carried out automatically, thanks to the unique polymers with the effect of “shape memory” built into the design. To control such a complex and high-tech device, only one switch is used.


Of course, such an engineering solution does not allow you to charge the car on the go. But during parking, recharging the batteries is carried out very quickly, and the time to unfold / roll up the cocoon does not exceed 30 seconds.

Perspectives and history of the patented solar cocoon

A future in which cars can be charged without roadside gas stations while their owner drinks coffee at a nearby cafe seems utopian so far. However, all representatives of the Ford family have repeatedly proved that they can confound skeptics.

Interestingly, the company has already developed engineering solutions in the field of solar panels for electric vehicles. For example, in 2014, FORD-owned startup Solar Energy Concept created a coating of C-MAX solar hybrid modules with a total capacity of 8 kW. The novelty was demonstrated at the international exhibition CES and made a good impression thanks to the system of automatic tracking of the sun and radiation absorption amplifiers in the form of Fresnel lenses.

Whether the novelty from FORD will become widespread or not is hard to say. But Mr. Ford himself claims that only his invention solves the main technical problem of roof panels for cars – the limited working surface of the free area of the hood and roof.


Ford is not alone in its desire to realize the dream of all manufacturers of electric vehicles in the world – to make these cars completely autonomous and independent of stationary filling stations.

Active attempts to improve solar panels for car roofs are demonstrated by all the giants of the global auto industry. Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan and Tesla have advanced further than others. Mersedes and Volkswagen are on their heels. But so far, the most realistic projects have been implemented in the form of hybrids, where the electric motor plays the main role, and a small internal combustion engine engine plays the auxiliary role.

Trying to increase the power and performance of solar panels for cars in the way that Ford has chosen has one undeniable advantage and an accompanying disadvantage . Plus, Ford’s ideas are to increase the power of an autonomous solar power plant to indicators sufficient to quickly charge a car anywhere. Minus – the impossibility of obtaining energy from the panels while driving. Whether the folding solar panels from FORD Motors will reach the level of commercial success, only time will tell.

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