The Rhenus Group, one of the leading logistics specialists with global business operations, is continually making efforts to make its own fleet of vehicles even more sustainable by using alternative drive systems. Rhenus Home Delivery is now using a test vehicle with solar measurement equipment to examine whether solar energy is a valid option for this. The specialist for delivering items to end customers is cooperating with Sono Motors in this field. The aim is to discover to what degree solar cells placed on a vehicle’s surface can extend its range – and what potential the technology has for use across the board in future.
Rhenus has drawn up a concept as a long-term project covering all four seasons ranging from blazing sunshine in the middle of summer to wet winter days in order to obtain realistic average figures. Illumination level sensors on both sides and on the roof of the 15-tonne vehicle with a traditional drive system continually measure the intensity of the solar radiation. A data logger connected by LTE also transmits the precise time of the measurement to Sono Motors, where all the measurement data is combined to provide detailed results. The vehicle will operate in Berlin and the federal states of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern from its base in Hoppegarten near Berlin. Jonas von Frieling, Head of Innovation Hub for the Rhenus Home Delivery and Rhenus High Tec business divisions, explains, “Rhenus and Sono Motors are two companies that are full of innovative capability and vigour and so they’re a perfect match for such a forward-looking project.”
Rhenus Home Delivery is increasingly making use of alternative drive systems for its fleet. However, this test project has even greater potential: innovative technologies such as solar-supported electric trucks could contribute a great deal to the energy revolution, as it is not necessary to cover additional spaces with concrete for this kind of ecological power generation. “If we’re going to switch to electric drive systems across the board, the supply systems needs to grow in line with this. Solar cells on vehicles could ease the pressure on the electricity grid. We’re pressing ahead with our test project as a pioneer here,” says Jonas von Frieling.
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