Sono Motors works with MAN to integrate solar panels into vans

Sono Motors announced that it has signed a letter of intent with MAN Truck & Bus to investigate the integration of Sono’s solar technology into MAN’s eTGE electric van. Companies will start with three separate applications around the eTGE, including air conditioning and cooling systems. If this combination is found successful, it can serve other purposes for both commercial and consumer applications.

Sono Motors was founded in 2016 with the aim of creating innovative mobility services that are not dependent on fossil fuels. This EV startup has developed a solar electric vehicle (SEV) called the Sion that can achieve an additional range of 150 miles per week by harnessing solar energy. In addition to SEVs, Sono Motors has geared its entire company towards clean mobility, sustainability and affordability.

On the other side of the table, MAN Truck & Bus is one of the leading manufacturers of commercial vehicles in Europe. The product portfolio includes vans, trucks, buses and services in the field of passenger and freight transport. The MAN ETGE Van is one of the manufacturer’s electric options and offers a range of 120 to 130 km in daily use.

A rendering of the eTGE transporter from MAN with integrated solar panels.

Sono Motors x MAN LKW & Bus

In a press release this morning, Sono announced that it had signed a letter of intent with MAN to “examine the technical and economic feasibility of integrating Sono Solar technology into MAN’s eTGE electric van”. The companies plan to investigate three separate applications related to the van’s solar implementation:

  • The MAN eTGE panel van
  • MAN eTGE Kombi with a powerful roof air conditioning system
  • A MAN eTGE van with a refrigeration system

With regard to these applications, Sono Motors will concentrate on achieving an additional range or a self-sufficient energy supply for auxiliary components such as alternating current and cooling systems in the MAN van. Jona Christians, Co-Founder and CEO of Sono Motors, said:

It’s a great opportunity for Sono Motors to partner with such a respected industrial partner as MAN and work together for a more sustainable future. Our Sono Solar technology offers a lightweight and adaptable platform that is ideal for light commercial vehicles such as the battery-powered eTGE from MAN. We look forward to all the possibilities that these two sustainable technologies can offer.

Due to the larger surface area of ​​the MAN eTGE delivery van compared to passenger cars, the solar modules from Sono Motors are particularly suitable for commercial applications such as delivery on the last mile. This is complemented by Sono’s polymer-based design, which offers a solar solution that is easier to integrate into complex shapes and designs.

If successful, solar technology can potentially reduce energy requirements and the required charging intervals, thus enabling a greater range. There is no schedule as to when this research will begin if it has not already been done. Keep an eye on our Sono Motors guide for the latest updates going forward.

Electreks attitude

While these two companies’ immediate focus is on commercial use and added range, there is one more potential application that EV enthusiasts could keep an eye on this collaboration – a solar EV RV.

Sono’s solar technology is likely to prove much more successful in its upcoming Sion car, which is specifically designed to increase the range of the sun. When integrating the eTGE van from MAN, the focus will be on the above-mentioned additional boosts from the solar technology from Sono Motors.

Air conditioning, cooling, and heating can be key benefits to a luxury camping experience, and the ability to get extra power from the sun might be tempting for consumers. For now we have to see how well the integration works and whether a full partnership blossoms. However, with the prospect of commercial and consumer applications already emerging, the idea looks promising.

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