The Scandinavian company plans to launch a line of hybrid transport vehicles equipped with solar panels that directly power the motor’s electric unit
The transport of goods on wheels is one of the main causes of air pollution. Transport companies are developing alternative means of transport that exploit renewable energy. In the naval sector, the Oceanbird project, the world’s largest ecological sailing ship, has recently spread. Analyzing road transport, the development of hybrid units is now at an advanced stage. All major automotive companies offer models with hybrid petrol/gas and electric engines. The situation becomes more complicated when it comes to larger vehicles.
The main problem of using electric or hybrid engines on trucks for freight transport is the power needed to make the vehicle efficient. A greater power of the engine is achieved by adding more batteries, but increasing the weight of the vehicle and reducing the power. A solution could come from Scania‘s idea. The company, based in Sweden, presented a truck 18 meters long and covered with solar panels. The innovation makes it possible to reduce the number of batteries in the truck, saving weight without sacrificing power.
Researchers have estimated that the trucks built in this way will save between 5% and 10% of fuel in Sweden, and about twice as much if used in sunnier countries like Spain. The solar panels will form an area of 140 square meters and should generate about 14000 kWh per year in Sweden. The project also includes the development of a method of recovering excess electricity produced, while the vehicle is parked at the weekend. The energy could be introduced into a fixed storage system and reused to recharge other electric motors. The project is funded by the Swedish innovation agency Vinnova and Uppsala University, as well as private companies Scania, Ernst Express, Midsummer and Dalakraft.