ICI has acquired a Chevy Volt, the first production electric vehicle with 'extended range' functionality. The car has an 'electric only' range of about 40 miles, which is sufficient for most days driving. An onboard gasoline engine will provide power if more range is needed. The Volt has impressed everyone at ICI. The quiet yet powerful and responsive electric drivetrain makes for a car that people will buy for its superior driving experience first and its economy second.
While electric powered vehicles come out ahead on important characteristics such as operating cost, pollution savings and decreased use of oil resources they still need power to run. ICI is developing a system to further reduce transportation's cost to the wallet and the environment. The system will also benefit infrastructure by reducing demand on the grid by power hungry electric vehicles.
ICI's vehicle recharging system will use solar power to recharge the electric vehicle. Photovoltaic panels will capture solar energy throughout the day and store it in batteries. When the vehicle is parked the energy stored in the system will be transferred to the car's battery.
The recharging system is sized for maximum return. We anticipate capturing electrical power sufficient for 8 miles of driving every day of the year. With this system the majority of owners would fully utilize the solar recharging system every day. The system will automatically top off the battery with grid power once the solar resources are depleted.
Future work will involve powering military vehicles and robotic systems via solar power.