“The first time we tested the solar charging, it took place indoors!”
03 OCTOBER 2023
Software engineer Naomi Anveden Hertzberg was one of the five software developers working on the solar-powered truck project. She explains her work and shares her impressions of what she calls a unique and exciting experience.
In her seven years working for Scania, Naomi Anveden Hertzberg has amassed a thorough knowledge of charging solutions, such as battery management units and e-highway vehicles. That made her an ideal candidate for the solar-powered truck project, which she joined in mid-2021.
“I’ve been involved in pretty much every type of charging that electrical vehicles at Scania have right now,” says this 35-year-old KTH Royal Institute of Stockholm Engineering Physics graduate, “So I think I was a good match for this project, since it’s a new charging interface, there’s power transfer involved between trailer and truck, and we also repurposed an existing unit.”
Mind you, even that extensive background could not totally prepare Naomi for the special aspects of the project to develop a solar-powered truck.
“There were a lot of new things in this project that hadn’t been done at Scania, so there were no real set standards to work to. We just had to use our knowledge and be creative and make a technical solution that worked. But I found that exciting,” she says.
“Our role was to adapt the control unit that controls the batteries in the trailer that would be charged with solar energy, since that was the existing charging interface that we had. So there was some communication with the solar array people to what we might expect from them.”
And when the moment came to test the solar charging unit for the first time, Naomi confesses to shaking…but as much with the freezing cold as with anticipation and nerves over the outcome. She explains why:
“When we were going to solar charge for the first time, the rig was in the workshop indoors. The solar charging guys showed up and said - ‘Can we move it outside?’ We said, ‘No, we can’t’ because the rig was fixed in place. So we opened up all the workshop doors on what was a pretty cold winter’s day and we got one of the workshop lamp rigs and pointed it at the solar array. Then we also drove this giant truck up to the workshop door with the headlights turned on full, and that’s how we tested solar charging for the first time! And do you know what: it was a sunny day outside! We were all nervous about what would happen but it worked."
Now that the prototype truck has been received by long-time Scania partner Ernst Express Åkeri for a pilot project, Naomi can reflect on an experience that stood out as having a very different set-up to the usual charging-related assignments that she has worked on in her Scania career.
“It was a unique experience to have at Scania, where projects are usually very big and last several years. I got to be in this sort of start-up in a really nice workshop in a really nice team where spirits were high and people were very generous in sharing their knowledge.
We were working on a short, unique and dedicated project. It was a special thing to do and this whole power bank trailer technology will benefit Scania.”
As she now gets involved in a bigger truck electrification assignment where thousands of people are working together, Naomi hopes that her experience as a woman engineer working on the cutting-edge solar-powered truck project will open the doors for more women to be involved, so that Scania can continue its diversity journey.
“I do hope and wish that we can get more women into these sorts of roles and projects in the future. I hope that my experience can in some way help inspire that to happen.”