Sono Motors has launched what it claims is the first solar bus built for public transportation on the roads of Munich, Germany.
The company is working with Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (Munich Transport Company, MVG) and will hit the roads soon, testing energy yields as well as the potential of the technology in daily operation.
The solar bus is capable of savings of up to 2,500 liters of diesel per year and an annual local CO2 savings potential of more than 6.5 metric tons per bus.
The bus will include 20 semi-flexible special photovoltaic (PV) modules that provide more than 2,000 watts of energy to power the vehicle’s battery and electrical loads such as heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems as well as the trailer’s steering system.
“Especially in times of rising energy prices and increasing urban area emission regulations, our solar technology offers great added value for public transport operators,” said Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. “City buses and coaches, whether electric or diesel-powered, offer a lot of space and are out on the road 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 daily use.”
Sono Motors said that a fleet of about 300 solar-powered buses could save up to 2,000 metric tons of CO2 per year. Further increases in CO2 savings are conceivable as both solar cells and the power electronics are expected to become more efficient.
The company developed its own solar technology so it could be integrated and licensed into a wide range of vehicles.
“When e-buses are factory-equipped with our solar technology, additional range can immediately be generated through solar energy on the roof and sides,” Hahn said. “This not only reduces the standstill times for charging processes, but also protects the battery through a constant charging process. As a result, the e-bus can be operated longer.”