In Sweden, Scania has started testing a 560-horsepower plug-in hybrid truck with 100 square meters of solar panels covering its trailer. The truck’s 60-foot (18-meter) trailer is almost completely covered in thin-film solar panels. The solar array is almost equivalent to a house equipped with similarly powerful panels.
This innovative setup is the outcome of a two-year research collaboration between Scania, industry partners, and academic institutions.
Never before have solar panels been used to generate energy to a truck’s powertrain like this collaboration is doing. This natural energy source can significantly decrease emissions in the transport sector.
Solar power integration has a lot of practical applications that can really transform things. Besides the panels giving some extra juice to the hybrid system, they also cut down on costs by using the truck’s own solar power. It might not yet fully charge the battery, but it does mean more miles fueled by the sun.
The truck has a driving range of up to 5,000 kilometers annually in Sweden. The solar panels are expected to generate enough power to extend the truck’s range by an additional 1,000 kilometers per year.
The solar-powered system can also power auxiliary systems like trailer refrigeration. This directly reduces the need for the primary engine to run during idle periods, resulting in decreased fuel consumption and emissions.
Scania’s push for electrification has led to the adoption of electric cargo transport in Europe, the creation of more electric powertrain options, and the introduction of customizable electric trucks. By 2040, Scania and other European truck manufacturers plan to stop producing diesel engines.
Reference- Scania Newsroom, Renewables Now, Inside EVs, Electrek