eNow recently underwent testing to determine the fuel economy savings achieved when eNow solar contributes to battery changing while the truck is underway, thereby reducing load on the alternator. The test was performed by MVT Solutions, which is an independent, 3rd party testing facility.
The report found: “The eNow truck utilizing the solar panel had a fuel savings of 0.15 gal/1000 miles and 0.15% by reducing the alternator load on the engine. The eNow panel was mounted on the truck roof cap and produced an average of 10.6 Amps during the test at 13.9 Volts, producing 148.0 Watts. The eNow solar system enabled the truck alternator Amp output to decrease by 12.0 Amps during the test. If solar output reached 300 Watts, as the panel is capable of, the fuel savings could be expected to double and reach approximately 0.30 gal/1000 miles and 0.30%.”
Testing was conducted at 65 mph on the 9-mile test track near Pecos, Texas, and the vehicles used were two 2018 Navistar LT trucks with 53’ Great Dane dry van trailers. Both were equipped with eNow solar, but the disconnect switch was turned off on one truck.
Why the MVT Fleet Likes eNow Solar Panels
Daryl Bear, Lead Engineer and COO of Mesilla Valley Transportation Solutions, points out that “we also saw other benefits from the solar panels, and that’s why MVT is outfitting all of their new trucks with eNow solar panels this year.”
The report outlines these benefits as:
Less Battery Replacement: In the 4-year life cycle of an MVT truck, battery replacement went from 200% to 10% when solar panels were added. Solar panels saved MVT $1520 per truck in its 4-year life cycle.
Fewer Jump Starts: Jump starts cost MVT approximately $200 per occurrence, not including down time or lost miles. Solar panels maintain the battery when the truck is not in use, ensuring the truck starts after it has sat for any length of time. In one case, a truck that sat 6 months started immediately with a solar panel installed. Secondly, if a driver runs the batteries too low overnight, waiting 1-2 hours in daylight will charge the batteries enough to start the engine.
Extended APU Run Time: MVT uses battery-powered APUs. Solar extends the run time, keeping the drivers comfortable longer, and happier.
Improved Driver Retention: eNow solar panels have an effect on retaining drivers since it keeps them happier; fewer jump starts, extended APU run time, and better reliability. MVT cannot accurately quantify that value, however it is noticeable.