A unique hybrid truck with a solar panel covered trailer is being tested on public roads, as a result of a two-year research collaboration involving Scania, Uppsala University, Eksjö Maskin & Truck, Midsummer, Ernsts Express, and Dalakraft. The solar energy decreases operational costs and local emissions significantly because of the truck’s self-produced energy.
The truck is used in a research project to examine the generated solar energy, and how much carbon emissions decrease via the solar panels. The researchers developed new, efficient, and lightweight solar panels for trucks. They also study how trucks can interact with the power grid, and bring forward new models for what will happen if several trucks like this one are connected to the power grid.
The truck’s 18-metre trailer is almost completely covered in solar panels, equivalent to a house equipped with similarly powerful panels. The solar energy gives the hybrid truck a prolonged driving range of up to 5.000 kilometers annually in Sweden. In countries like Spain, with more sun hours, the vehicle can double the amount of solar energy and thus driving range compared to Swedish circumstances.
The project also includes researched on new, lightweight tandem solar cells, that 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 the solar energy generation, compared to the current energy generated by the panels.
The solar powered truck has been developed in a research project party funded by government agency of innovation Vinnova, to develop trucks with low climate impact thanks to solar energy. The truck is a 560 horsepower plug-in hybrid. On the 18-metre trailer, an area of 100 square meters 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.
Scania is a major Swedish manufacturer.
(Source: Scania)