University Study Finds Significant Fuel Economy Improvements
Dynamometer tests by the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University show that solar power systems from eNow can significantly improve fuel economy by using solar power in lieu of engine power to charge a vehicle’s auxiliary batteries.
Rhode-Island-based eNow offers solar systems to help power refrigeration units, cab climate control systems, lift gates, tools, electronics, and safety and emergency lighting on medium and heavy duty trucks, buses and military vehicles.
Tests at OSU-CAR were conducted using a Class 8 2005 Freightliner Columbia 120 with a 14-liter diesel engine, supplied by Ryder System. The testing simulating eNow’s solar charging system showed an improvement in fuel economy compared to charging a simulated set of auxiliary batteries using the truck’s alternator at a 100-amp load.
2.6% at Cruise
The researchers found fuel economy gains ranging from 1.4% at a simulated 60-mpg steady state to 15.7% at idle, says the OSU-CAR report, titled Fuel Economy and Performance Testing of a Class 8 Sleeper Tractor Simulating eNow’s Solar Charging System.
“The Heavy Heavy-Duty Diesel Truck (HHDDT) Cruise and Urban Driving Schedule for Heavy Duty (UDDS-HD) drive cycles showed improvements (decreases) of 2.6% and 2.7% in fuel consumption,” the report states.
There are maintenance savings too, and “reduction in greenhouse gas emissions will also enable operators to meet current and future government standards,” says sales manager John Switzer.
“This is an easy-to-use technology whose time has arrived,” eNow founder, president and CEO Jeff Flath says in a release.
“Right now,” he said, “our systems are on the road helping customers”
- realize a payback from 6 to 9 months for most applications;
- meet “no idle” and emissions reduction requirements;
- improve fuel economy and lowering fuel consumption;
- reduce engine maintenance costs;
- reduce operational costs;
- reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
- meet company sustainability targets.
eNow offers solar panels ranging from 50 to 375 watts, in scalable arrays. All components are made in the U.S., Flath says.
“By designing each system to meet a customer’s specific needs,” he says, “we are able to ensure that each delivers maximum cost savings, maximum fuel savings and maximum emissions reduction benefits.”
Financing and a Guarantee
And, he adds, “If actual fuel savings fall below estimated savings, eNow will refund the difference in accordance with our limited performance warranty (emphasis added). We can also offer customer financing and help with information on federal solar tax credits.”
eNow’s solar panel sizes range from 50 to 375 watts. “We can install over 5,000 watts on a full trailer,” says Switzer. He cites a list price of $981 for a 100-watt system capable of trickily charging and powering the lift gate on light to medium duty vehicles, and $2,488 for a 300-watt system supporting lift gate and APU/HVAC on a heavy duty vehicle. The prices include solar panels, charge controller, and wiring and installation components.
eNow solar systems are available via vendors including Mitsubishi Fuso, Palfinger (F&F, March 11, 2014), Bergstrom and Morgan, Flath told F&F. He notes that the California Air Resources Board recently approved eNow’s solar auxiliary power system as an anti-idling technology for use on heavy-duty diesel fueled vehicles, and that eNow “is currently developing partnerships with major transportation companies across the country.”
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Source: eNow with Fleets & Fuels follow-up