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Electric truck with solar roof on test drive for a year

A truck with a 3.5 kW photovoltaic system has been on the road on German roads this week. The solar power should cover 5 to 10 percent of the energy requirements of the 18-tonner, writes the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE. Whether the prognosis is actually correct is now to be tested with the test vehicle for a year.

The truck with an 800-volt traction battery comes from Framo GmbH from Löbichau in Thuringia and is used in real operation by the electrical wholesaler Alexander Bürkle GmbH in Umald, Freiburg. The solar modules were developed by Fraunhofer ISE and built by Sunset Energietechnik. They should be particularly light and robust. TBV Kühlfahrzeuge GmbH integrated the modules into the box body of the Framo truck.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI is also involved. Its “IVImon” energy forecasting model is contributing to the project, which is intended to forecast the range, charging times and power generation for various routes depending on vehicle consumption and solar radiation.

Christoph Kutter, project manager at Fraunhofer ISE, is already satisfied: “With the successful commissioning of our high-voltage photovoltaic system, we have achieved our goal of demonstrating the feasibility of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics for heavy e-commercial vehicles. The components integrated in the truck work as expected. “

The solar modules on the roof are connected in series so that the electricity yield is high, but material and cabling costs are low. However, the resulting voltages of up to 400 volts could pose a safety risk in the event of an accident. That is why Fraunhofer ISE has developed a separation device that sits in the junction box of every PV module. It should separate the power connection within milliseconds in a decentralized manner and without additional communication channels.

Solar modules are an important component for the electric car developer Sono Motors. Integrated into the body of the Sion model, they should help extend the range of the car by a good 100 km. The car is expected to hit the market in the first half of 2023.


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