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Solar technology company Sono Motors retrofitted a combustion engine bus with its solar bus kit. Last month the firm launched an innovative public transport pilot project in Hof in northeastern Bavaria, Germany, back fitting a bus operated by Stadtwerke Hof, writes Sono in a press release.

  • Sono Motors used its solar technology to retrofit a diesel-powered bus.
  • The Mercedes-Benz Citaro C2 used for the pilot was equipped with 16 semi-flexible PV panels supporting the combustion engine.

The installation was carried out for the first time together with ÖPNV-Service Hagen. The company’s expertise extends to cabling, repair, maintenance, and services for local public transport. The company has more than 15 years of experience as a service provider for local public transport and modernizes around 4,000 commercial vehicles every year.

On the road

In Hof, a Mercedes-Benz Citaro C2 was equipped with 16 semi-flexible PV panels; the installed capacity of the modules is around 1.4 kWp. Double-sided tapes were used for the first time to fasten the modules to the roof of the bus securely.

The solar power generated is fed into the battery to support the conventional diesel engine and save CO2 emissions. The material used for this weighs only 50 kg.

The first HofBus bus with an integrated Solar Bus Kit from Sono Motors has received approval from the Technical Inspection Association (TÜV) and has since been on the road in Hof. At the same time, an identical mild hybrid bus without a PV system is being used. This way, it is possible to optimally compare driving performance and energy consumption over a specific distance traveled.

Working together to make local public transport emission-free

“We at Sono Motors are very pleased to partner with HofBus GmbH. By using our Solar Bus Kit on the first vehicle of the HofBus fleet, we can show a fast, easy, and cost-effective way to reduce emissions from public transport sustainably,” says Jona Christians, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors.

“We are very excited about the results of the pilot project. We hope it will serve as a model for other environmentally friendly mobility solutions,” said Stadtwerke Managing Director Jean Petrahn. The project is part of Stadtwerke Hof’s long-term strategy to drive the switch to electric mobility. The HofBus fleet will be converted to zero-emission drives in the coming years.

“We are proud to present our first joint project in cooperation with Sono Motors. To maximize European production capacity and offer fast and professional retrofitting and maintenance, we will continue cooperating with Sono Motors’ customer service and logistics. We are looking forward to future projects,” says Luca Bochhammer, Managing Director, ÖPNV-Service.