ZF presents new electrified trailer solution
ZF’s latest version of its pioneering concept to electrify the trailer will be on show at the NUFAM commercial vehicles trade show in Karlsruhe, Germany. The ZF electrified trailer solution is made possible by integrating ZF’s AxTrax 2 electric axle with a modular battery system box for recuperation and traction support.
The eTrailer is a semi-trailer with its own electric drive, which reacts to the driving behaviour of its coupled tractor unit. The idea is that the eTrailer’s drive takes the load off the tractor unit. ZF calls the concept “the latest key technology for trailer manufacturers and fleets to meet upcoming local decarbonisation laws and make road freight transport more efficient”.
The innovative semi-trailers feature ZF’s own AxTrax 2 e-drive axle, which can both support the truck’s drive and recover energy during braking, which is temporarily stored in a battery system box (including battery management) that ZF does not specify. According to the supplier group, this will “open up considerable, previously untapped potential for reducing fuel or energy consumption as well as CO2 emissions”. At the same time, the safety and driving dynamics of the entire vehicle are to be increased.
The Friedrichshafen-based company also provides concrete figures on the savings potential. Using only recuperation, the eTrailer in combination with a diesel tractor is supposed to save up to 16 percent fuel and CO2 emissions. With an additional plug-in solution – i.e. through an external charging option for the semi-trailer – the savings potential should increase to up to 40 percent (based on 80,000 km of annual mileage in regional distribution transport). And when used in a purely electric vehicle combination (BEV or FCEV), the complete solution for trailer electrification can contribute to extending the range, among other things, says ZF. The company is not more specific at this point. This is hardly surprising, as the possible extra kilometres are likely to depend on the route profile and the tractor unit combined with the eTrailer.
“Electrification for trailers is an innovative solution to decarbonize road freight transport in the very near future,” said Dr Bernd Meurer, responsible for the electric trailer program at ZF. “Instead of solely being pulled by the truck, the new approach provides additional traction while generating fuel savings, reducing CO2 emissions and improving sustainability.”