Sono Motors to jointly analyse solar tech application with commercial vehicle manufacturer

Munich-based OEM, Sono Motors, has agreed to investigate the technical and economic feasibility of integrating its technology with a third party’s electric vehicle.

MAN Truck & Bus and Sono Motors have signed a Letter of Intent to explore opportunities with MAN’s eTGE electric transporter.

“It is a great opportunity for Sono Motors to team up with such a respected industry partner as MAN and to work together for a more sustainable future,” said Sono Motors co-founder and CEO, Jona Christians.

“Our Sono Solar technology offers a lightweight and adaptable platform that is ideal for light commercial vehicles such as MAN’s battery-powered eTGE.

“We look forward to all the opportunities that these two sustainable technologies can bring together.”

Three applications are to be equipped with Sono Solar technology and investigated by the companies: MAN eTGE panel van; MAN eTGE combi with a powerful on-roof air conditioning system; and MAN eTGE with a refrigeration system.

For all three concepts, the focus is either on additional range to be achieved or on a self-sufficient supply of auxiliary users, e.g the air conditioning system, through the acquired solar energy.

Dennis Affeld, Senior Vice President & Head of Sales Truck & Van at MAN Truck & Bus, is pleased with the partnership with Sono Motors, which is now underway.

“We will pool our joint know-how and expertise to test various prototypes with vehicle-integrated photovoltaic technology,” he said.

“The aim is to find out how much energy can be gained from PV technology over the year.

“Using this insight, we can then assess whether the technology pays off for our customers and at the same time helps to protect the environment.”

The eTGE is MAN’s answer for urban and regional operations. It does not cause on-site emissions and is significantly quieter in operation compared to an internal combustion engine drive. Depending on the annual mileage, the eTGE can be operated more economically than a comparable diesel TGE: after about four years, it pays for itself.

Sono Solar technology offers a lightweight, robust and cost-effective solar solution that can adapt to a range of complex geometries thanks to its polymer-based design. Due to the larger surface area compared to passenger cars on vehicles such as trucks, vans or buses, the panels are particularly suitable for commercial applications, like last mile delivery.

The vehicle-integrated photovoltaic solutions (ViPV) are not, however, intended to replace existing energy storage systems such as batteries or fuel cells. They can reduce energy requirements and the number of charging intervals required, thus extending the range. Furthermore, it is conceivable that the solar energy obtained will be utilised for auxiliary users such as heating, air conditioning or refrigeration units.

Energy efficient road transport equipment can be realised by harnessing the sun according to Sono Motors. This Munich-based operation is developing revolutionary solar-powered innovations that could transform the semi-trailer industry.