Solar-Powered Vehicles Under Spotlight: Europe Explores The Potential

A private-public research group has been set up to examine how solar-powered vehicles can support the transition to electric vehicles. The group, supported by the European Commission’s DG MOVE (Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport), consists of TNO (The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research), Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Sono Motors, and IM Efficiency.

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The European Union has very important goals for the transition to zero carbon emissions in transportation systems. For this, it is especially important to establish adequate charging infrastructure. With solar panels to be used in vehicles, the need for charging can be significantly reduced. Researches shows that a vehicle with solar panels may need 25 percent less charging per year. In sunny regions, it is stated that this figure can reach 40 percent.

By 2030, solar electric vehicles are expected to account for 10 percent of the entire market. Some vehicles with solar panels are already under development. In fact, more than 30 trucks with solar panels on top of their trailers are traveling on European roads. Transportation fleets used in urban transportation are expected to follow.

A three-year pilot project will monitor the vehicles on the roads and evaluate the data. Cars, trucks, buses and vans will be equipped with solar panels. They will also be equipped with sensors to measure the solar impact across Europe. The aim is to reduce emissions and lower costs with vehicles that utilize solar energy.

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