Sono Motors, a Munich-based developer of solar electric vehicles (such as the soon-to-be-released Sion SEV), and Pepper Motion, a vehicle conversion company based in Denkendorf, Swabia, have developed an electric bus. The special feature: The bus is equipped with Sono Motors’ solar technology. The bus kits that Sono has put together are 14 partially flexible solar modules that have been mounted on an electrified Citaro from Mercedes-Benz. The bus in turn comes from Pepper’s demo fleet.
14 modules mounted on the roof
The 14 modules have a combined output of about 1.3 kilowatts. The installation should generate an annual average of 3.3 kilowatt hours of solar power per day, the project partners have calculated under Munich irradiation conditions. The modules feed the solar power directly into the 24-volt battery of the bus via a solar charge controller MCU from Sono Motors. They are the primary energy source. The DC/DC charger of the electric bus takes over the energy supply if the supplied solar power is not sufficient.
Electricity for heating and air conditioning
The bus thus does not use the solar power directly for the vehicle drive, but supplies the heating, ventilation and air conditioning as well as other subsystems of the vehicle. This reduces the load on the high-voltage battery and the DC/DC charger, which in turn allows for longer operating times, a reduction in charging cycles and a lower total cost of ownership.
Entering the commercial segment
With this project, Sono Motors is creating a new strategic market entry in the commercial sector of electric mobility. Over the next two years, Pepper’s customers across Europe will have the opportunity to participate in the test phase. “We believe in a future where every vehicle will be a solar electric vehicle. For this reason, we are convinced that our first e-bus with solar technology marks a crucial step for the future of public transport,” says Laurin Hahn, CEO of Sono Motors.
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“At Pepper, we have made it our goal to successfully advance the mobility revolution in our society, and Sono Motors is the ideal partner for this,” adds Andreas Hager, Managing Director of Pepper. (su/mfo)