Scania take solar-powered hybrid truck on the road

A truck, with  an 18m trailer, almost completely covered in solar panels, is being tested on public roads following a two research programme funded by the Swedish government agency of innovation.

The truck is the result of a collaboration involving Scania, Uppsala University, Eksjö Maskin & Truck, Midsummer, Ernsts Express, and Dalakraft. 

The 560 horsepower plug-in hybrid consists of an 18m trailer on which an area of 100m² is covered by thin, lightweight and flexible solar panels with a maximum efficiency of 13,2 kWp (kilowatt peak). They are estimated to deliver 8,000 kilowatt hour (kWh) annually when operated in Sweden. The batteries have a total capacity of 300 kWh, with 100 kWh on the truck and 200 kWh on the trailer. 

The solar energy gives the hybrid truck a prolonged driving range of up to 5,000km annually in Sweden, whereas in countries like Spain, with more sun hours, it would be expected t achieve double that figure.

Stas Krupenia, Head of the Research Office at Scania said: ‘Scania’s purpose is to drive the shift towards a sustainable transport system. Never before have solar panels been used to generate energy to a truck’s powertrain like we do in this collaboration. This natural energy source can significantly decrease emissions in the transport sector. It is great to be at the forefront in the development of the next generation’s trucks.’

The researchers developed new, efficient and lightweight solar panels for trucks. The project will examine how much solar energy is generated and the amount carbon emissions are reduced. They will also study how trucks can interact with the power grid.

The tandem solar cells are based on a combination of Midsummer’s solar cells and new perovskite solar cells. These enable a higher efficiency in the transformation of sunlight to electricity. Such a solution could double solar energy generation, compared to the current energy generated by the panels.

Erik Olsson, Head of Corporate Development, Midsummer said: ‘Our solar panels are excellent for applications that make commercial vehicles sustainable. We see great potential to decrease the emissions from heavy vehicles with electrification. Electricity generated by solar panels will save fuel and carbon emissions. We want to be a partner to count on, and that is enabled by this ground-breaking project.’



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