In a groundbreaking initiative last month, solar technology company Sono Motors launched an innovative pilot project in Hof, Bavaria, targeting public transportation. The project involved equipping a bus operated by Stadtwerke Hof with an upgraded version of Sono Motors’ Solar Bus Kit, a pioneering solar retrofit solution designed for buses.
ÖPNV-Service Hagen played a crucial role in the successful installation, providing their expertise in cabling, repair, maintenance, and other essential services related to local public transportation. With over 15 years of experience as a service provider in the field, the company has been instrumental in modernizing approximately 4,000 commercial vehicles annually. This collaborative effort demonstrates the potential for integrating solar technology into public transportation to promote sustainable and eco-friendly mobility solutions.
In Hof, a Mercedes-Benz Citaro C2 has been fitted with 16 semi-flexible PV panels, collectively providing approximately 1.4 kWp of installed power. Interestingly, the installation of these panels on the bus’s roof was accomplished using double-sided tape for the first time, remarkably lightweight, at only 50 kg for all materials used in the project. The primary objective of this solar integration is to harness solar power and feed it into the bus’s battery system, thereby supporting the conventional diesel engine and reducing CO2 emissions.
With approval from the German Technical Inspection Agency (TÜV), the first HofBus equipped with the Sono Motors solar bus kit is now operational in the city of Hof. Simultaneously, an identical mild hybrid bus without a PV system is also in operation, serving as a reference point for comparison. These comparative data sets will enable an optimal assessment of the driving performance and energy consumption within a defined travel distance.
Working together to make local public transportation emission-free
“We at Sono Motors are very pleased to partner with HofBus GmbH. We believe the installation of our Solar Bus Kit for the first time on a vehicle from the HofBus fleet will demonstrate what a quick, easy and cost-effective solution the Solar Bus Kit is for sustainable reduction of emissions from public transportation,” says Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors.
“We are very excited about the results of the pilot project. We hope that it will serve as a model for other environmentally friendly mobility solutions,” explained Stadtwerke Hof Managing Director Jean Petrahn. The project is part of Stadtwerke Hof’s long-term strategy to promote the switch to electric mobility. The HofBus fleet is to be continuously converted to emission-free power trains in the coming years.
“We are proud to present our first project in cooperation with Sono Motors. We will continue to work with Sono Motors’ customer service and logistics in order to maximise production capacity in Europe and offer fast, professional retrofitting and maintenance. We are looking forward to future projects,” said Luca Bochhammer, Managing Director, ÖPNV Service.