The municipal bus fleet in Munich, Germany will soon be equipped with solar-powered trailers.
Sono Motors, an electric vehicle manufacturer focused on integrating photovoltaic solar power into transportation, has deployed its solar technology on the municipal bus fleet in Munich, Germany. The buses will be attached to a trailer topped with 20 semi-flexible solar panels.
The modules cover an area of 12 square meters and supply the 24V battery with over 2000W. In the pilot project, solar energy will be used to operate the HVAC system and support the trailer steering system. This saves the bus from burning diesel and stabilizes the power supply to the battery, which reduces maintenance costs and extends battery life.
The PV system was custom designed for the needs of the buses and includes the company’s proprietary Maximum Power Point Tracking (MPPT) unit and an algorithm-enabled charge controller designed to optimize power generation. Production can be monitored online using integrated software.
After technical approval by the supervisory authorities, the bus trailer will enter regular service, providing cleaner transport for the residents of Munich.
“We need a change of course in the transport sector. Transport still largely misses climate protection targets, which also has a direct impact on the air quality in Munich. Solar buses can be the cornerstone of this urgent shift towards climate-friendly mobility,” said Katrin Habenschaden, Vice Mayor of Munich.
The company said an average-sized fleet of 300 buses could save around 2,000 metric tons of C02 emissions each year. If we consider the “backpack” of 1.5 tons of C02 emissions or the amount of emissions related to the production of the bus trailer, the carbon impact of the production would be offset in less than one year of operation.
Sono Motors said its solar technology was designed to fit into a wide range of vehicles. Electric buses can be integrated with PV on their roofs and sides, extending range, reducing downtime for charging processes and protecting the battery for longer life through regular power cycling .
“Especially in times of rising energy prices and increasing emissions regulations in urban areas, our solar technology offers great added value to public transport operators. City buses and coaches, whether electric or diesel, offer plenty of space and run every day. The first solar bus trailer for MVG will hit the streets of Munich in the future and allow MVG passengers to experience solar mobility every day,” said Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. .
Sono Motors is also developing its own passenger vehicle, the Sion. The Sion sports a liquid-cooled battery pack with a 54 kWh battery and a range of 190 miles and has 248 solar cells neatly integrated into the roof. Rooftop PV can add between 70 and 150 miles per week to that range.
The car can be charged to 80% in 35 minutes via a fast charger, and is capable of public charging, home charging, and can exchange power from vehicle to vehicle. Pre-orders are available in the German market. Sono said the former SAAB factory that will be used to produce the Sion will be powered by 100% renewable energy.
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