A heavy-duty truck weighing 18 tons and equipped with a 3.5 kilowatt-peak photovoltaic system is now driving on Germany’s roads. The commercial vehicle with integrated high-voltage photovoltaic system and feed-in to the 800-volt traction battery has been approved for road traffic.
The solar power produced directly on the vehicle can cover 5 to 10 percent of the truck’s energy needs.
In the Lade-PV project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, with its project partners from industry and the Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems IVI, has developed solar PV modules and power electronics for integration in commercial vehicles.
This truck, the first equipped with these PV modules, has now passed the technical inspection, marking a milestone towards more climate-friendly road freight transport.
“By successfully putting our high-voltage photovoltaic system into operation, we have achieved our goal of demonstrating the feasibility of vehicle-integrated photovoltaics for heavy-duty electric utility vehicles. The technical components integrated into the truck function as we expected,” remarks Christoph Kutter, project manager at Fraunhofer ISE. The particularly lightweight and robust PV module prototypes were developed by Fraunhofer ISE and built by Sunset Energietechnik GmbH. TBV Kühlfahrzeuge GmbH integrated the new modules into the box body of a Framo electric truck, which serves as the first demonstrator vehicle.
The modules were developed at Fraunhofer ISE but built by Sunset Energietechnik GmbH. TBV Kühlfahrzeuge GmbH then integrated the modules into the box body of a Framo electric truck, which serves as the first demonstrator vehicle. M&P motion control and power electronics GmbH developed a DC power controller that communicates with the vehicle control system via CAN bus and is integrated into the vehicle’s safety concept. The photovoltaic power from the roof is fed directly into the on-board network of the commercial vehicle.
The PV truck will now be used daily by Alexander Bürkle GmbH in the Freiburg area for a year. Not only will the components be tested under real conditions, but the solar power actually generated will also be recorded.
This is “to validate the power yield forecast”. When the project started in 2020, it was said that electricity for 4,000 to 6,000 kilometers would be generated in the vehicle.