Scania is testing a solar truck trailer to see how much fuel it could save
Solar modules have been installed in electric vehicles such as Hyundai's Sonata Hybrid, but cannot significantly increase mileage due to the small surface area. A typical semi-trailer truck, on the other hand, has the same surface as a medium-sized house. With this in mind, Volkswagen's own truck manufacturer Scania is covering a trailer with 1,507 square feet of solar cells to power one of its hybrid tractor units. The aim is to see how much fuel can be saved and whether it can be connected to the power grid when not in use (via Autoblog).
Full testing has not yet started, but Scania and its partner Ernst Express estimate the panels could generate around 14,000 kWh over the course of a year. That would be enough for a fuel saving of 5 to 10 percent in Sweden or twice as much as in warmer regions like Spain.
Road trials have to confirm this, but no doubt Scania (in partnership with the Swedish government) would like to understand the economics better, considering that the solar panels would cost $ 50,000 if installed in a house far north - and undoubtedly much more on one moving truck. Large oil rigs, on the other hand, can consume $ 70,000 worth of diesel per year and last well over 10 years.
The potential savings aren't just on the go, however. Scania wants to know if the trailers can keep the grid running when they are not in use. After all, each side of the trailer would have roughly the same surface area as a typical 6 kilowatt house installation.
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