Munich-based solar mobility provider Sono Motors and Ari Motors have unveiled the newest solar prototype, a light electric vehicle (LEV) integrated with solar panels and designed specifically for last-mile delivery and urban transportation.
Unveiled at the Intersolar exhibition in Germany, the new prototype combines the Ari 458 box body L (Kofferaufbau L) LEV with five ultra-thin solar PV modules that are able to provide up to 450watts of energy at peak performance.
Sono Motors, which focuses on electric vehicles integrated with solar panels – including the company’s Sion EV – promises that the solar integration will provide the Ari 458 a daily average of 20-kilometres of additional range under normal weather conditions, and up to 48-kilometres at peak weather conditions during the summer.
Two methods are used by Sono Motors to modify existing vehicles to incorporate solar PV – the so-called vehicle integrated photovoltaics (ViPV) and vehicle applied photovoltaics (VaPV) solutions.
ViPV sees solar panels integrated into a vehicle’s body such as the vehicle’s sides, body panels, and windows. VaPV, however – which was used to incorporate solar into the Ari 458 – applies solar panels onto a vehicle.
Specifically, for the Ari 458, five solar PV modules consisting of 45 solar cells and 90 half-cells were applied onto the vehicle’s roof and sides.
The modified Ari 458, which is being previewed at Intersolar, is also a proof of concept for Sono Motors’ business-to-business (B2B) unit, Sono Solar, and its efforts to apply solar panels to a range of vehicles from a range of manufacturers.
“Sono Solar – Sono Motors’ B2B unit – is a one-stop-shop for vehicle integrated photovoltaics (ViPV) and our aim is to make every vehicle a solar vehicle,” said Mathieu Baudrit, Sono Solar Group Lead at Sono Motors.
“The solar integration solutions provided by Sono Motors are the perfect fit for our light vehicle box as it enables us to reduce the vehicle’s dependency on charging infrastructure as well as extend its range and reduce costs,” said Thomas Kuwatsch, CFO of ARI Motors.
Joshua S. Hill is a Melbourne-based journalist who has been writing about climate change, clean technology, and electric vehicles for over 15 years. He has been reporting on electric vehicles and clean technologies for Renew Economy and The Driven since 2012. His preferred mode of transport is his feet.