Almost since the beginning of the modern era of electric vehicles, many have been looking for a way to combine their efficiency with solar panels. Something that on paper will allow them to increase their autonomy. Now Scania joins this group with the presentation of a plug-in truck covered in photovoltaic panels.
It is an 18-meter-long model used for transport work by Swedish logistics Ernst Express, which collaborated with Scania to test the world’s first electric highway with a catenary.
The company will operate a truck where the trailer will be covered with solar panels that will occupy a total area of 140 square meters. According to the manufacturer, an installation will allow it to produce about 14,000 kWh each year. Of course, a figure depends on where the truck is moving, but a priori seems more than optimistic since we are talking about 38 kWh a day, 365 days a year.
This plug-in hybrid model would have achieved fuel savings of between 5% and 10% in its Swedish operations in a previous study. An environment that is not very favorable for this type of solution, which, besides the few hours of light in northern Europe, faces the plates’ positioning that does not have a minimally optimal orientation, especially when the vehicle is moving.
Another interesting part of the project is that it will be in charge of studying the full potential of photovoltaic panels in an electrified truck’s body, beyond only supplying it while driving. This initiative will also study other possibilities, such as exporting excess electricity to the grid when the batteries are fully charged, for example, when the truck is stopped on weekends.
Something that would mean being able to continue entering money when the vehicle is stopped by selling electricity from the surplus. An aspect that may be small in a single-vehicle, but in large fleets, the figures can be considerable.