We write a lot about electric trucks. It’s an industry in the midst of a transformation, tasting the fruits of electrification and letting the juices drip down its chin. Regulatory and societal pressures are closing in, demanding trucks produce fewer emissions. But while advancements in battery technology have brought incredible advancements to the world of Class 8 trucks, we tend to only concern ourselves with the tractor.
But what about the tractor? Is there room for electrification advancements there, too?
Of course there is. As Jason Morgan, editor of our sister brand Fleet Equipment writes, there are innovators working on what the trailer could actually bring to the electrification game. At the TMC meeting last fall, ConMet eMobility offered up one of the more convincing trailer electrification applications with its Preset Plus Electric Hub (dubbed the “eHub.”)
According to Marc Trahand, vice president and general manager of ConMet eMobility, it works like this:
“The system all revolves around in-wheel motors. The electric motors are inside the wheels, building on the hub technology that ConMet has developed. Electric motors have two ways of functioning: They can provide propulsion, and can act as a generator. With in-wheel motors, whenever the vehicle is moving, you’re rotating coils, which generates energy that can then be put into a battery.
“Our eHub system has two modes. We have the two hubs in the rear axle of the trailer that will bring back electricity into the battery, which powers the TRU. That battery is a high-capacity, automotive grade battery. It will be able to be filled quite fast, so the energy production from these hubs is very high. We can generate a peak of 156 kilowatts from these hubs. That means within hours, or even minutes, you can fill a battery with the high energy generated by these hubs. It’s much more energy than you could ever get from a solar panel on the roof, for example. So we’ve developed a product that if you’re cooling a TRU with this, you can arrive at your destination, your reefer is cool and your battery is full.”
For more on this technology, check out the full story here: