Truck of the future powered by solar cells


Solar cells on trucks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is one of the collaborative projects that Vinnova is focusing on in its Challenge-Driven Innovation initiative. Erik Johansson, Professor at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström, is leading the project.

In the Challenge-Driven Innovation programme, companies, public sector organisations, universities, higher education institutions and other organisations all collaborate to provide a long-term contribution towards achieving the global sustainability goals of Agenda 2030. 19 projects are currently receiving a total of SEK 144 million in funding through the programme to develop, test and implement solutions on a larger scale. 

One of the projects, which was awarded SEK 8.3 million, is being led by Erik Johansson, Professor at the Department of Chemistry – Ångström. The project also includes other researchers at UU as well as a truck manufacturer, a solar cell manufacturer, an electric company, a trailer manufacturer, and a haulage firm.

“We will build a heavy-duty truck and cover it with solar cells so it can be powered in part by solar energy. In total, there will be about 145 square metres of solar cells on the truck. The solar cells will be used to reduce fuel consumption in a hybrid engine in the truck, thereby reducing its climate impact by reducing carbon dioxide emissions,” says Erik Johansson.

The project launches in January. The truck will take one year to build, and will then be tested during actual operation for one year. In addition to the grant from Vinnova, the participating companies are contributing almost an equal amount in funding. The total project budget thus amounts to approximately SEK 16.5 million.

“The grant from Vinnova also allows us to research new efficient and lightweight solar cells that can fit on trucks in the future. We will also explore how solar cells and batteries in the truck can be used to balance the power grid when the truck is not in use,” says Erik Johansson.

Text: Birgitta Wilén

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Last modified: 2023-10-04