Lade-PV – Development of Vehicle-Integrated Photovoltaics for On-Board Charging of Electric Utility Vehicles

Duration: 07/2019 - 12/2022
Contracting Authority/ Sponsors: Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi)
Project Partners: Fraunhofer-Institut für Verkehrs- und Infrastruktursysteme IVI, TBV Kühlfahrzeuge GmbH, Sunset Energietechnik GmbH, Alexander Bürkle GmbH & Co. KG, M&P Motion Control and Power Electronics GmbH
Project Focus:
PV modules integrated into the roof of an e-truck.
© Fraunhofer ISE
PV modules integrated into the roof of an e-truck.
Truck roof with integrated solar modules.
© Fraunhofer ISE
Truck roof with integrated solar modules.
Mini E-truck of Fraunhofer ISE with integrated shingle solar cells.
© Fraunhofer ISE
Mini E-truck of Fraunhofer ISE with integrated shingle solar cells.

Road transport is responsible for high CO2 emissions. Solar power produced on the vehicle can significantly improve the balance. The project »Lade-PV« is intended to demonstrate the marketability of PV applications in freight transport. For this purpose, suitable PV modules for subsequent on-roof mounting on trucks and for full integration are being developed, as are components for power electronics. The cost-effective production of large quantities of integrable PV modules in a PV module production line is conceptually developed. The developed PV modules and components of power electronics will be installed in electric commercial vehicles in practical tests. A manufacturing concept for PV-active box bodies for integration into trucks optimizes economical production. An energy prediction model will estimate the irradiation potential and enable a cost analysis. The aim of the project is to demonstrate energy savings in freight transport of more than 5% by using PV.

Developing and testing modules

The aim is to develop particularly light and robust PV modules for subsequent on-roof mounting and full integration. The application-optimized modules should be able to be produced cost-effectively in the price category of standard modules or even cheaper (< 0.4€/W, < 75€/m²). For this purpose, innovative material combinations for lamination are evaluated and tested. The targeted full integration of the PV modules into the roof surface saves additional costs for framing and material. To test the roadworthiness of the vehicle-integrated PV modules, relevant IEC tests are adapted and tested.

Implementing power electronics components

Due to space and weight requirements, the power volume and weight of the connection of the PV modules to the electrical system of the commercial vehicle should be minimized. New semiconductor technologies are tested and the integrated packaging of power electronics and thus also the thermal management of the components are adapted accordingly. The appropriate power electronics, like the PV modules, are tested according to automative requirements. The energy management concept should be designed in such a way that a connection to non-electric trucks can also be useful.


Energy forecast and measurement campaign

An energy forecast model includes the energy-intensive on-board consumers and forecasts the PV power yield based on different routes, ranges, charging times and energy quantities. The measurement campaign gets its data from sensors installed on vehicles in traffic. This allows the irradiation potential to be recorded for different route types, occupancy rates and usage scenarios as well as different shading scenarios (e.g. cities, country roads or motorways). The evaluation of the data then allows a specific assessment of the energy potential for transport.

Practical test with evaluation

Demonstration vehicles will be equipped with PV modules to test connection concepts, cable management and integration of power electronics components. The savings in real operation are to be tested with different users with different route profiles and delivery times (daytime, early morning, evening). In addition, the handling, the compatibility to forwarding processes and the applicability in practice shall be demonstrated.

Concept of an economical manufacturing process

Part of the project is to prove the economic efficiency of PV modules for commercial vehicles. To this end, manufacturing concepts and concepts for the supply chain are being developed in order to estimate the real costs of manufacturing the individual components. The components of the various manufacturers are brought together in a manufacturing concept. The concept includes the individual process steps and the definition of the interfaces in the supply chain for the economic production of PV-active trunk units and solar-supported electric delivery vehicles. In addition, cost and profitability calculations are being carried out and holistically evaluated.

More Information on this Research Topic:


Vehicle-Integrated Photovoltaics

Further information on the topic of "Vehicle Integrated PV", application options and area potential can be found on our topic page.


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