To determine the amount of fuel savings possible through the use of solar cells to power a plug-in hybrid truck, Scania will develop an 18-metre-long solar cell-clad trailer that will be tested in Sweden. The solar cells will cover both the roof and along the sides of the trailer, totaling 140 square metres, and are expected to annually generate 14,000 kilowatt hours. Scania says the research project will also test whether the trailer can feed electricity into the grid when parked over a weekend with fully charged batteries.
Fuel Savings Up To 10% Possible
The new project is publicly funded by the Swedish government’s innovation agency Vinnova. In a pre-study, operations in mid-Sweden were simulated and produced a potential fuel savings of 5 to 10%. Based on these results, the pre-study estimates that in areas like southern Spain, which receives 80% more hours of sunlight, the trailer could generate twice the amount of solar-powered energy.
The New Trial
In the upcoming project, the truck will be operated in daily transport assignments by the Swedish haulier Ernst Express, which also collaborated with Scania in trials of the world’s first electric road with overhead catenary lines. The project will also utilise the expertise of solar panel manufacturer Midsummer, Uppsala University (which conducts advanced research on more efficient solar cells), and the Dalakraft energy company.