There are no arguments about it, switching our gas-powered transport for battery-powered alternatives is one of the best ways to cut our environmental impact. But, in doing so, we risk wasting a whole heap of functioning vehicles. Now, a new solar power kit promises to increase the efficiency of buses and trucks until it’s time to replace them with an electric alternative.
The Solar Bus Kit from German firm Sono Motors adds up to eight square meters of solar panels onto the roofs of standard city buses. The kit is designed to increase the efficiency of the buses currently on the roads in towns and cities around the world.
According to Sono Motors, the kit is compatible with the “most common 12-metre public transport bus types on the European market,” which it says includes models from Mercedes-Benz and Man.
Once installed, it will allow buses and trucks to be “partially powered by renewable energy.” This would help save fuel, reduce CO2 emissions and cut daily running costs. Sono Motors reports that the kit could save up to 1,500 litres of diesel and up to 4.5 tons of CO2 per bus per year.
Jona Christians, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors, said: “We’re proud to celebrate the unveiling of our novel solar product, the Solar Bus Kit, which will truly push our mission of making every vehicle a solar vehicle to the next level.
“The all-new Solar Bus Kit allows us to strengthen our solar business by maximizing the scalability of our technology to a huge market: the public and private bus fleet sector. It also represents a milestone on our path toward a world without fossil fuels.”
Further details about the kit, including price, will be announced later this year.
As well as the kit, Sono Motors has also unveiled the final design for a partially solar-powered car concept. Called the Sion, the car was first unveiled in 2019 and features 456 solar cells integrated into its bodywork.
The car, which will reportedly be built at a former Saab plant, should be capable of covering around 113 km on solar power alone. In total, the EV is predicted to have a range of 306 km.
Production for the Sion is slated to begin in 2023, and the firm says it has already received more than 19,000 reservations for the cars. When it does go on sale, Sono says the Sion will cost around €25,000 (roughly $AU36,454).