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Germany’s Sono Motors is working with the Rhenus Group, a leading logistics service, on the use of smart solar technology in last-mile logistics. A first Rhenus Group test vehicle was equipped with irradiance sensors for this purpose and will be on the road for the next 12 months in Berlin, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany.
The aim of the cooperation is to collect extensive solar data in real-world operation on the road to further optimise the potential of Sono Motors’ innovative solar technology for use on vans.
Sono says a fully integrated solar system for a van has the potential to achieve an output of up to 8.8 kilowatt peak (kWp) with an area of just under 54 sqm.
Other potential benefits include extending vehicle battery life, as well as reducing maintenance costs.
Rhenus Group employs 37,500 employees at 970 business sites and is developing innovative solutions along the complete supply chain.
Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors, says: “The project with the Rhenus Group provides us with important data to further optimize our patented technology. Our solar technology has the potential to make an important contribution to reducing emissions and increasing range in end customer delivery.”
“Innovative technologies such as solar-powered electric vans and trucks could contribute a great deal to the energy transition in the future, as no additional land needs to be sealed for this type of ecological power generation,” adds Jonas von Frieling, Head of Innovation Hub for the Rhenus Home Delivery and Rhenus High Tech. “If there is a widespread switch in transport to electric drives, supply must grow accordingly. Solar cells on vehicles could relieve the grid in the process and offer respite for fleet managers by easing the burden on charging infrastructure. We are leading the way with our test project.”
Sono Motors has already signed more than 17 partner agreements with companies such as MAN, easymile and Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (MVG).
Its first vehicles have already been delivered for some customers and partners, such as a solar bus trailer for the Munich transport company (MVG) and a light electric vehicle prototype for ARI Motors.