Battling climate change with smart solar solutions
For the third time Ericsson-sponsored Solar Team Eindhoven has won the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia, a 3,000 km race from Darwin to Adelaide. Their solar car Stella Vie won the title as the most energy-efficient “cruiser class” car. Ericsson is a proud sponsor of Solar Team Eindhoven because we strongly believe that our technology can help bring solar cars closer to everyday reality – an important step toward a world without fossil-fueled transportation.
More than just a car
Stella Vie has space for up to 5 people and it can easily travel 70 km/hour without using the battery, even in cloudy circumstances. Aside from its size, what distinguishes Stella Vie from other solar cars is that it produces more energy than it consumes. This makes Stella Vie much more than just a car – it also functions as an energy generation and storage unit on wheels. One of Ericsson’s key roles in the project has been to provide the intelligence to enable energy upload from the car to the grid (to a home or office site, for example).
Ericsson has also developed other on-board applications for Stella Vie, such as a solar navigator that provides feedback to the driver about the optimal driving speed and battery usage, as well as suggesting rerouting if the weather changes. We have also created a smart solar parking app that identifies the optimal parking spot based on information about sunshine and shadows caused by surrounding buildings.
We intend to demonstrate the solar car at side events that are organized along with the annual UNFCCC Climate Conference (COP23) in Bonn, where we will also promote other climate-friendly solutions such as the solar powered radio site.
Growing corporate engagement
It’s encouraging to see more and more traction in the private sector to take responsibility to combat climate change. For example, earlier this month I attended an event in Brussels called Companies vs. Climate Changewhere I spoke about Ericsson’s programs for carbon reduction. I illustrated our achievements with recent examples of projects in the area of Smart Cities and Smart Transport, including Stella Vie. It was interesting to learn about the large degree of commonality with the long-term climate-related goals from many different industry leaders, such as Carlsberg, Philips, Proximus, Siemens, Arcelor-Mittal, Lidl and Solvay. Several companies have already set the goal to become carbon neutral by 2030, or even 2025. “Reduce emissions where possible, and compensate what you cannot reduce” was a repeated expression.
The ICT sector will play a very important role to enable a low-carbon society. According to an Ericsson report, carbon abatement of ICT solutions can be up to 15% of global carbon emission by 2030. This is well illustrated by the many pilots and projects that Ericsson is currently running in Market Area Europe and Latin America. Taking part in solar car projects isn’t just fun, it is also connected to a very serious long-term goal: global carbon neutrality.