Integrated PV generator extends range of electric commercial vehicles

April 07, 2020 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Integrated PV generator extends range of electric commercial vehicles
Heavy goods traffic causes 6 % of the CO₂ emissions in the EU. Solar power produced directly at the vehicle can improve this balance by 5 to 7 %. In the "Lade-PV" project, industrial companies and two Fraunhofer Institutes want to demonstrate the marketability of PV applications in heavy goods traffic. To this end, an overall concept is to be developed that enables the widespread use of integrated photovoltaic modules on electric and other commercial vehicles with a payload of over 3.5 tons.

Over the next three years, not only individual components such as PV modules and power electronics will be developed for this project, but also a manufacturing and production concept that will enable an efficient supply chain between the industries involved. The practical implementation of the prototypes is to take place on an electric truck as a demonstration vehicle.

"On trucks, there is plenty of space in the best sunny position, and with electric propulsion, large batteries are also available - an ideal situation for using photovoltaics to gain valuable on-board energy and thus range, and that 100 percent renewable," explains Dr. Harry Wirth, Division Manager Photovoltaic Modules and Power Plants at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg (Germany).

In the project, scientists at the lead Fraunhofer ISE are developing lightweight and robust PV modules for two applications: retrofitted on-roof mounting and full integration into the vehicle body. The requirements for the Vehicle Integrated PV (VIPV) modules are demanding: they should achieve a surface utilization factor of more than 90 %, be vibration-resistant, shear and bend resistant and easy to install. In addition, they should have a maximum additional weight of 2.6 kilograms per square meter.

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