EasyMile and Sono Motors are equipping the French-developed EZ10 autonomous shuttle prototype with Munich-based Sono Motors’ patented solar technology, testing a new energy concept for electric and driverless shuttles.

The joint venture was recently revealed at the virtual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2021 with Sono Motors announcing its intention to license its unique solar technology to other companies. Its solar technology modifies a vehicle’s exterior by installing solar cells integrated into flexible polymers instead of glass. This, claims Sono, makes it lighter, robust, cheaper and more efficient than other vehicle solar technology currently available.

EasyMile says its “standard” EZ10 shuttle operates up to 16 hours with one battery charge and must be plugged-in for around six hours to fully charge from empty. Integrating Sono Motors’ solar body panels into the shuttle will reduce charging intervals, extend range and enable shuttles to operate more independently of available EV charging infrastructure.