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Bosch eAxle is an integrated unit that combined electric motor/generator, transmission, and power electronics into one package that can be fitted into a wide variety of applications including cars and light trucks. Now you can add one more application: trailer axle. By changing the middle axle of a trailer to an eAxle, the trailer can be virtually energy independent, with no engine or fuel needed for cooling, as well as help the tractor by boosting the truck's uphill performance.
Bosch demonstrated a mockup of this technology at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover Germany. According to Jason Roycht, Bosch's head of commercial and off-road vehicles in North America, all the parts are in place, they just needed to do the engineering. And what's even better, once perfected, it can be retrofitted to existing trailers. They expect to field this in 2-3 years.
By leveraging the captured power and sending it back to the axle, now acting as a motor, the trailer can help move itself, thus reducing required power from the tractor. This results in improved acceleration and hill-climbing performance, as well as fuel savings.
While Bosch did not provide cost estimates, they believe owners can recoup the cost of retrofit within two years. Given that most trailers last much longer than the tractors, and there are three times as many trailers as tractors, the overall savings can be significant.
The savings from eAxle is most visible on refrigerated trailers (aka reefer trailer). If a reefer trailer can operate entirely by the power captured by the eAxle, it no longer needs an engine-powered APU to run its cooling unit. That means savings of up to 2400 gallons of fuel per year and reduced maintenance.
Trailers are getting smarter, and Country Supply will keep you appraised of the latest in trailer technologies, as well as find you the best trailer for your needs.
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