Ryder UK delivers exclusive solar tech for rigids

Commercial vehicle leasing specialist, Ryder UK, has partnered with fuel and emission technology experts, Trailar, to exclusively deliver the Trailar system featuring cutting-edge solar tech for rigid-bodied vehicles.

Trailar is an ultra-thin, flexible solar film matting system that is fitted to the roof of a rigid truck and connects directly to its battery. The solar energy collected from this system is used to power all on-board ancillary equipment such as tail lifts, which, according to the OEM, reduces maintenance costs, extends truck battery life and lowers emissions to due to minimised engle idling.

During independent trials at Millbrook proving ground, fuel savings of 5.2 per cent were reportedly achieved on a rigid truck and 2.3 per cent on a prime mover and trailer configuration.

Fleet operators have also proven these fuel consumption and environmental savings, according to Ryder. DHL is one of the first UK operators to adopt this technology, having invested in Trailar as part of its declared target of zero emissions by 2050. In order to decrease supply chain costs and reduce its carbon footprint, DHL fitted the solar matting system to the roofs of 16 18-tonne rigid vehicles working on the Primark contract. In the 12 months of operation, the vehicles fitted with the Trailar system achieved on average a 5 per cent fuel saving compared to non-solar vehicles on the same contract. A corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions of 64 tonnes was also achieved in that 12-month period.

“We’re constantly seeking out innovation in our supply chain that delivers cost savings,” said Primark Fleet Manager, Wendy Foster. “If a combination of cost saving and environmental impact can be achieved in conjunction with each other, then we are all for it. This is why we chose to engage in the Trailar project. It’s delivering both savings and reducing our carbon footprint.”

The Trailar solar film matting weighs two kilograms per square metre, which Ryder claims has no impact on payload. Once fitted to a vehicle, the Trailar solution works in any natural light and is designed to absorb and generate maximum energy as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Trailar can be retrofitted to existing truck roofs, and the solar matting will not need replacing during the lifetime of the vehicle.

The mats are not visible from the ground and are installed on a ‘fit and forget’ basis with no intervention required by the driver of the vehicle.

“Partnering with Ryder as our exclusive provider of the rigid product is an exciting time for all involved,” said Trailar co-founder, Denny Hulme.

“Independent tests and two years of vehicle tracking have confirmed an average five per cent fuel saving and reduced emissions.

“We can now offer Ryder’s customers a fantastic opportunity to turn their vehicle fleets greener and cleaner while at the same time achieving considerable fuel savings,” he said.

Ryder VP and Managing Director David Hunt commented: “We are excited to be partnering exclusively with Trailar on its innovative solar technology for commercial vehicles. This is a unique opportunity to help fleet operators deliver on their green credentials while at the same time reducing their maintenance costs and boosting their uptime. Innovation is at the heart of our organisation, and the Trailar system is the perfect fit for Ryder and for our customers, and we are looking forward to helping them deliver on their promises.”

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