Sweden’s Scania revealed a world-first hybrid semi-truck covered in solar panels. Because of its self-produced energy, the unique prototype has the potential to reduce both operational costs and CO2 emissions of heavy transport.
The hybrid truck’s trailer is covered in 100 square metres of solar panels that are plugged into an electrical system carried on board. It is being deployed in a research project to examine how much solar energy such a configuration can generate, and how much it is possible to lower CO2 emissions through the use of the attached photovoltaic panels.
Following an initial pre-study concluded in 2019 to determine feasibility, Scania received funding from the Swedish state innovation agency Vinnova. It then launched a full-scale project in January 2021, with the efficient and light-weight solar cells developed by Uppsala University.
“This is an exciting project where academia and industry together try to decrease the climate impact from truck transports. The results from this unique truck will be very interesting,” said Erik Johansson, project manager and Professor of physical chemistry.
The energy produced by the solar panels provide the truck with a driving range of up to 5,000 kilometres per year in Sweden, though this would double in countries with more sunshine like Spain. The researchers who created the concept believe future versions could double the solar energy generation to improve the range even further by making use of new perovskite solar cells.
The hybrid truck forms part of a push by companies and institutions around the world to research ways to transition away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles towards more sustainable solutions. However, the company also noted that it was still a research project, and would allow for the possibility of technical snags needing to be fixed along the way.
According to thenextweb.com & independent.co.uk