The idea of placing solar panels on cars has been floating around the motoring industry for a while now. However, when a vehicle manufacturer is designing a vehicle, solar panels often take a back seat to elements like safety, comfort and styling.
Now, it looks as though this idea may finally become a reality thanks to Volkswagen-owned truck manufacturer Scania and its plans to cover a 18 meter-long trailer with 140 square metres of solar panels on either side. The idea behind Scania’s plan is to see how much fuel can be saved using solar power, and if the trailer can then be connected to the main power grid when it is not in use, according to reports from AutoBlog.
Testing of the solar powered trailer has yet to begin but Scania, along with Swedish trucking company Ernst Express believe the panels could generate as much as 14,000 kWh over the course of a single year. In a region like Sweden, where the test will be held, this could improve fuel economy by around 5-10%. However, Scania believe these savings could be doubled if the trailer and hybrid semi-tractor which it is attached to was to be used in a more sunny region like Spain.
In a research partnership, Scania will develop a solar cell clad trailer to power a plug-in hybrid truck. Initial tests indicate possible fuel savings of 5–10 percent in Sweden and twice that amount in sun-rich southern Spain. Full story: https://t.co/QrACh7JEXg pic.twitter.com/61Wlg7Le8x
— Scania Group (@ScaniaGroup) October 7, 2020
Along with improving on fuel economy, Scania believes the hybrid semi-tractor and solar panel trailer combination could also provide large amounts of power to a city’s electrical grid once they are in use, which could come in handy when a town is suffering a blackout due to a natural disaster.