The French company EasyMile and Sono Motors have partnered to integrate Sono Motors’ patented solar technology into an EZ10 autonomous shuttle prototype.
At the beginning of January, Sono Motors showed a new generation of prototypes at the CES and announced that it wanted to license its solar technology to other companies. The first partner is now EasyMile. Its solar technology modifies a vehicle’s exterior by installing solar cells integrated into flexible polymers instead of glass and covering the vehicle surface with them for their E-Shuttle EZ10. This makes it lighter, robust, cheaper, and more efficient than any other vehicle solar technology currently available.
According to the company, buses and trucks are particularly suitable for equipping with solar panels due to the large contact area.
The EZ10 is not a heavy commercial vehicle, but with a length of four meters, a width of two meters, and a height of almost three meters, it can transport up to twelve people. The electric shuttle EZ10 from the manufacturer EasyMile, which is already in use in more than 30 countries worldwide, runs as standard for up to 16 hours on one battery charge and must be connected to a charging station for around six hours in order to be fully charged. The charging time could be significantly reduced with solar technology.
Sono Motors emphasizes that solar technology is not intended to replace traditional charging methods. Instead, they can reduce the number of charging intervals. According to Sono Motors, equipping vehicles with photovoltaic cells could enable a new type of energy-efficient mobility that could counteract the still weak spread of charging stations for e-vehicles.
“This could give the driverless shuttle even more autonomy as it would be more independent of the available charging infrastructure,” says EasyMile in a press statement. “A big cost saver for private sites as well as an advantage for the many communities that use the shuttle as an extension of the public transportation network.”