Sono Motors pilots solar bus trailer in Munich
German electric car start-up Sono Motors is launching its proprietary solar technology in public transport for the first time in partnership with the Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (Munich Transport Company, MVG).
The new solar bus trailer has been put into pilot operation in the Munich metropolitan area. This should test the energy yields as well as the technology’s potential in day-to-day operation.
Sono Motors claims its solar bus trailer can save up to 2,500 liters of diesel per year and an annual local CO2 savings potential of over 6.5 metric tons per bus. The 20 semi-flexible special photovoltaic (PV) modules provide more than 2,000 watts to power the vehicle battery and electrical loads such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and the trailer steering system.
Veit Bodenschatz, Managing Director and Head of Bus Division at MVG, said: “The photovoltaic system on our bus trailer now allows us to test under real conditions whether the power generation is working properly and whether there is maybe routes in our network that are better. more suitable than others for this type of power generation”. He noted that “the question of what energy savings can be achieved by using solar energy is, of course, particularly exciting in the context of current fuel and energy prices.
Sono’s solar technology, currently being tested under real conditions, has been developed and tested specifically for use on buses. The bespoke solar bus trailer concept was developed with Munich-based public transport provider MVG to optimize space utilization and efficiency.
The photovoltaic vehicle system includes electrical integration using power electronics developed by Sono Motors (MPPT Central Unit), MCU. The company explains that the solar charge controller has an intelligent algorithm that optimizes the energy yields of the PV modules.
The modules integrated in the solar bus trailer cover a total area of twelve square meters. In addition to saving diesel, the additional electricity provides stabilization of battery power supply, which can extend battery life and reduce maintenance costs. Sono’s integrated software allows you to view information about the energy generated online.
“This is an important step in Sono Motors’ mission to make every vehicle solar,” said Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. “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 in everyday life,” Hahn continues.
Besides Sono Motors’ electric and solar-powered car, the Sion, the Munich-based EV startup has been able to work with different automakers to integrate their solar technology onto all sorts of different vehicles. Sono says it has already signed more than a dozen letters of intent and contracts with companies such as MAN, easymile or ARI Motors since the start of 2021. Called Sono Solar, Sono Motors’ complete solution includes a custom concept with solar modules, power electronics, telematics and data, mechanical and electrical integration, as well as after-sales and service. The German company says its technology is suitable for integration into existing vehicles as well as production-ready development and integration into new vehicles during the production phase.
“When electric buses are factory-fitted with our solar technology, additional range can be immediately generated through solar power on the roof and sides. This not only reduces downtimes for charging processes, but also protects the battery through a constant charging process. As a result, the e-bus can be operated for longer,” says Hahn.
The bus trailer will enter regular service as soon as it receives technical approval from the relevant regulatory authorities.