Sono Motors is expanding its solar business by entering the growing refrigerated trailer market with its proprietary Sono Solar Technology, to further reduce global fossil fuel emissions.
The company signed a purchase contract with The Reefer Group, an international leader in refrigerated bodies, extending the number of total partners of Sono Motors’ Solar business unit to more than 17 globally. As part of this collaboration, the companies will build a first trailer vehicle with the Reefer Group’s French subsidiary CHEREAU S.A.S. for extensive testing to further evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of integrating a customized solar solution for a high volume series vehicle.
The solar integration will provide the trailer’s cooling unit with an additional 9.8 kW peak, offering possible fuel savings of approximately 3,400 liters (up to 8,475 under peak conditions) and providing the potential to reduce the local CO2 emissions by approximately 9 tonnes per year per vehicle compared to trailers with diesel-powered cooling units.
“This partnership is a huge step for Sono Motors, since we open up a completely new industry for our highly flexible and proprietary Sono Solar technology. We offer a lightweight and adaptable platform that is ideal for refrigerated trailers and allows customers in the transportation industry to cut costs and emissions throughout their fleet. We are very pleased for the opportunity to collaborate with such a respected industry partner like CHEREAU and to be able to work with them towards creating a more sustainable future," says Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. "We look forward to all the opportunities that this partnership can create."
“The solar integration solutions provided by Sono Motors are the perfect fit for our trailers. We are pleased to be able to work with Sono Motors to create the future prototype that will be part of our demo fleet of sustainable reefer trailers. This is a big step towards making commercial mobility more sustainable and reducing emissions,” says Damien Destremau, CEO at The Reefer Group and CHEREAU.
Sono Motors will be equipping the roof and sides of an existing CHEREAU trailer with 54 solar modules using the VaPV (vehicle applied photovoltaic) process that was developed specifically for the use in cargo-box vehicles like the CHEREAU refrigerated semi-trailer. The high efficiency, automotive-grade solar modules cover an area of 58.9 sqm and will provide up to 9.8 kW peak of energy in total at peak performance. The solar power will be used to operate the cooling unit through charging the battery. This potentially results in approximately 3,400 liters of fuel savings and provides the potential to reduce the local CO2 emissions by approximately 9 tonnes per year per vehicle, compared to trailers with diesel powered cooling units. The solar trailers ‘CO2 backpack’, i.e., emissions caused in production, amounts to a one-off of approximately 6.5 tonnes of CO2 and could be offset after a short runtime of just less than one year. The planned premiere of the trailer at the IAA Transportation 2022 in Hanover will be followed by intensive tests during a several month-long field trial by a CHEREAU customer in France. Part of the testing process is validating the numbers for energy earnings and fuel savings that are based on internal calculations including weather and system efficiency assumptions.
The market for refrigerated trailers is expected to grow strongly due to the rising demand for medicine, deep frozen goods and fast food. In addition, fuel costs are rising and price pressure is intensifying. Sono Motors is counteracting increasing fuel costs and CO2 emissions with its efficient solar technology.
Sono Motors has already signed more than 17 commercial contracts with companies such as MAN, easymile and the Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (Munich Transport Company - MVG). The Sono Solar complete solution includes a customized concept including solar modules, power electronics, telematics and data, mechanical and electrical integration as well as after-sales and service.