The question I am always asked when I mention anything related to solar energy is this: why isn’t the technology as ubiquitous as the sun?
So today I am excited to share the news that solar-power transport company Sono Motors is deploying its tech on a bus for the first time — in partnership with the Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft (Munich Transport Company, MVG).
You probably know Sono Motors from its work building Sion, the solar electric car. The Sono solar technology replaces traditional paint with proprietary integrated solar panels that can form for various applications. Unlike vehicles with rooftop solar panels alone, it comes with 456 solar half-cells on the hood, fenders, sides, roof, and rear.
I sat down with Laurin Hahn, co-founder, and CEO, to ask about the shortage of solar deployment up until now, and find out about the company’s latest partnership.
He explained that the reasons for solar’s slow start have been cost and inefficiency:
10 years ago, solar was just too expensive and too inefficient. Now, we have seen prices come down by 80% to 90%, and efficiency going up by roughly 40% to 50%.
Buses get the solar treatment
Today the company is deploying its solar technology as a diesel bus retrofit solution. As Hahn notes, “There are thousands of buses in existence. And they will not be put away tomorrow.” So, the first step is to reduce the diesel consumption of existing bus fleets.