Solar-powered vehicles specialist Sono Motors is entering the refrigerated trailer market with its proprietary Sono Solar technology, which the German company says helps reduce global fossil fuel emissions.
Sono recently signed a purchase contract with The Reefer Group, a European manufacturer of refrigerated trailers and truck bodies, extending the total number of global partners in Sono’s Solar business unit to “more than 17,” the company said. As part of this collaboration, the companies will build a first trailer vehicle with The Reefer Group’s French subsidiary Chereau for testing to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of integrating a customized solar solution for a high-volume series vehicle.
“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,” said Laurin Hahn, co-founder and CEO of Sono Motors. “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 toward creating a more sustainable future.
“We look forward to all the opportunities that this partnership can create.”
The solar integration will provide the trailer’s cooling unit with an additional 9.8 kW peak power, offering possible fuel savings of approximately 3,400 liters (up to 8,475 under peak conditions), and providing the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 9 tonnes (9.9 U.S. tons) per year, per vehicle compared to trailers with diesel-powered cooling units.
“The solar integration solutions provided by Sono Motors are the perfect fit for our trailers,” said Damien Destremau, CEO at The Reefer Group and Chereau. “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 toward making commercial mobility more sustainable and reducing emissions.”
Sono will equip the roof and sides of an existing Chereau trailer with 54 solar modules using the VaPV (vehicle applied photovoltaic) process developed specifically for use in cargo-box vehicles like the Chereau refrigerated trailer. The high-efficiency, automotive-grade solar modules cover an area of 58.9 square meters (10.8 square feet) and will provide up to 9.8 kW of peak energy. The solar power will be used to operate the cooling unit through charging the battery, Sono said, potentially resulting in approximately 3,400 liters (898 gallons) of fuel savings.
The solar trailer’s ‘CO2 backpack,’ or its emissions caused in production, amounts to a one-off of approximately 6.5 tonnes (7.2 tons) of CO2 and could be offset after a runtime of less than one year, Sono maintained.