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Sono shows how solar energy can save money when installed on electric buses and pickups

German startup Sono Motors plans to launch the Sion solar-powered electric car, but it is also looking at commercial vehicle applications for its solar technology.

Sono demonstrated several such benefits at the 2022 IAA Transport Show in Hannover, Germany, which the company claims can improve the efficiency of refrigerated buses and trucks.

Sono plans to market a kit that will allow existing buses to be retrofitted with solar panels. While diesel engines still provide propulsion, solar energy can be used to power other systems such as climate control, a company press release said. The kit is designed to be compatible with public transport buses Mercedes-Benz Citaro and MAN Lion City — the most popular vehicles in Europe, according to Sono.

Refrigerated semi-trailer with Sono . solar panels

Refrigerated semi-trailer with Sono . solar panels

The company claims a peak capacity of 1.4 kilowatts of solar panels can save up to 396 gallons of diesel per bus per bus per year, and owners will see a return on investment in about three to four years, depending on factors such as fuel prices.

Sono also showed many chilled trailers at the IAA show with solar panels. Sono claims adding panels to the roof and sides of the trailer can meet up to 50% of the chiller’s annual energy needs, adding that the 9.8 kW installation on display at exhibition can generate 21.2 kWh of energy daily, on average for the year, in Munich, Germany.

Refrigerated semi-trailer with Sono . solar panels

Refrigerated semi-trailer with Sono . solar panels

These settings seem to be a simpler solution than what Sono is using to cover all its Sion body panels. In that case, the panels are fully integrated with the bodywork and add a range of 152 miles per week. Production will be manufactured in Finland, by Valmet, with production expected to begin in the second half of 2023.

With its large and flat surface, buses and semi-trailers seem to be a great fit for solar panels. But why stop there?

Solar tonneau case for pickup trucks is another possibility — one that could at least become an aftermarket accessory. Solar energy will be a good solution for many The truck also stoppedwhen they pivot to electric truck maintenance.

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