A Scania hybrid truck equipped with solar panels is being tested in Sweden on public roads by the haulage company Ernsts Express AB. This is the result of a research collaboration involving Scania, Uppsala University, Eksjö Maskin & Truck, Midsummer, Ernsts Express, and Dalakraft. The truck is used in a research project to examine the generated solar energy, and how much carbon emissions decrease via the solar panels. The researchers developed new, efficient, and lightweight solar panels for trucks. They also study how trucks can interact with the power grid, and bring forward new models for what will happen if several trucks like this one are connected to the power grid.

The truck’s 18-metre trailer is almost completely covered in solar panels, equivalent to a house equipped with similarly powerful panels. The solar energy gives the hybrid truck a prolonged driving range of up to 5.000 kilometers annually in Sweden. In countries like Spain, with more sun hours, the vehicle can double the amount of solar energy and thus driving range compared to Swedish circumstances. The project also includes researched on new, lightweight tandem solar cells, that are based on a combination of Midsummer’s solar cells and new perovskite solar cells.

Scania hybrid truck with solar panels

One part of the project was to evaluate the charging’s impact on the electricity grid and whether it would be possible to sell the surplus. The possibility of two-way charging is not entirely straightforward and the legislation is unclear. “We thought we would be able to buy the trucks surplus, unfortunately that is not possible at the moment. But the solar cells becoming part of the truck’s energy supply is fantastic”, said Sverker Ericsson, Electrical Trade Engineer at Dalakraft.

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“Scania’s purpose is to drive the shift towards a sustainable transport system. Never before have solar panels been used to generate energy to a truck’s powertrain like we do in this collaboration. This natural energy source can significantly decrease emissions in the transport sector. It is great to be at the forefront in the development of the next generation’s trucks,” commented Stas Krupenia, Head of the Research Office at Scania.

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