First solar trailers arrive to power electric buses in Munich

German start-up Sono Motors and MVG have launched a solar-powered bus trailer that will tour the city of Munich and test the energy efficiency and potential of the technology on a daily basis.

Sono Motors speaks of a possible saving of up to 2,500 liters of diesel per year and a potential annual CO2 saving of more than 6.5 tonnes per bus.

In addition, 20 special semi-flexible photovoltaic modules powered the vehicle’s battery supply, electrical consumers such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning, as well as the trailer’s steering system.

City buses and coaches, whether electric or diesel, offer plenty of space and run every day. The first solar bus trailer for MVG will soon be on the roads of Munich, allowing MVG passengers to experience solar mobility on a daily basis.

According to calculations by Sono Motors, it is possible to save up to 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year for an average-sized fleet of around 300 buses.

Further increases are possible in the future as solar cells and power electronics are expected to become more efficient.

The CO2 emissions caused by the solar solution during production amount to approximately 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per bus or bus trailer. This should be compensated after a useful life of less than one year.

According to Sono Motors, MVG’s solar technology was developed and tested specifically for use in buses.

The concept of the solar bus trailer was developed together with the Munich public transport company to ensure high space utilization and efficiency.

In addition to the robust solar installation optimized for integration into the vehicle, it also includes electrical integration via power electronics developed by the start-up. The solar charge controller has an intelligent algorithm that optimizes the energy performance of photovoltaic modules.

Thanks to the ultra-fast optimization in the millisecond range and thanks to the multi-channel system, the photovoltaic yields can be transferred in the best possible way to the bus battery.

The modules cover a total area of ​​12 m2 and supply the 24 V battery with over 2000 watts.

In this case, the solar energy thus generated is used to operate the HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and to support the steering system of the trailer.

In addition to saving fuel oil, the additional electricity stabilizes the energy supply to the battery, extending battery life and reducing maintenance costs. Using integrated software, the generated energy can be monitored online.

With the photovoltaic system on the bus trailer, it is now possible to test in real conditions the proper functioning of electricity production and whether there are routes on the network that are more suitable than others for this type of electricity production. electricity, explained MVG CEO Veit Bodenschatz. The question of the energy savings that can be achieved through the use of solar energy is, of course, particularly exciting in the context of current fuel and energy prices.

The solar technology has been developed by Sono Motors in such a way that it can be integrated and authorized in different vehicles.

Sono Motors says it has signed over ten letters of intent and contracts for its solar technology with companies including MAN, Easymile and ARI Motors since the start of 2021. power electronics, telematics and data, mechanical and electrical integration, as well as after-sales and service. The technology is suitable for integration into existing vehicles as well as development and integration into new vehicles during the production phase.

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