Germany to benefit from green logistics innovation

A trailer builder and a research and development firm have produced an electric drivetrain for long haul trucks.

Krone and Trailer Dynamics have developed an electric drivetrain for long haul trucks.

This innovation, developed in cooperation with Krone and Trailer Dynamics, reduces the carbon dioxide emissions of diesel trucks and also provides a noticeable increase in the range of electric tractor units.

The basis is the eTrailer, a powerful electric axle that works independently of the tractor unit. The tests with a first prototype confirm the high expectations of the innovative system.

On 17 January 2022, Trailer Dynamics and Krone were awarded the Innovation Prize of the ZENIT e.V. network. The prize was presented by NRW Innovation Minister Prof. Dr Andreas Pinkwart and ZENIT Network Chairman Thomas Eulenstein.

The environmental goals of the EU and the federal government are high. Compared to 1990, net greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by at least 55 percent by 2030.

The most important target group for Trailer Dynamics in the first step is therefore in particular the existing fleet of diesel semitrailer systems.

“We assume that these systems will continue to represent the predominant motorisation of long-distance freight transport for the next 20 to 30 years,” predict the Managing Directors Michael Nimtsch, Abdullah Jaber and Jochen Mählmann.

Since solutions for reducing pollutants already exist for trucks that mainly travel short distances, the focus of Trailer Dynamics is on diesel trucks that cover more than 500 kilometres during their journeys. The aim is to reduce their fuel consumption by more than 20 per cent and thus save at least 20 tonnes of carbon dioxide per articulated truck per year. Assuming a market share of eTrailers of 10 per cent, this would lead to an annual emission reduction of more than one million tonnes of carbon dioxide in Germany.

It is not only the environment that should benefit from the eTrailer, but also the logistics companies. Thanks to the additional eAxle power, the tractor unit is supported in the drive and can also be easily dimensioned smaller, thus reducing the running operating costs or total cost of ownership. The system can be combined with all common tractor units.

The system’s operating principle is complex: The electric axle replaces one of the trailer’s conventional, non-driven axles. A sensory kingpin also enables functionally independent real-time control of the electric driveline with the tractor unit. In combination of the eTrailer with the diesel vehicle, this transforms the entire tractor-trailer system into an electric plug-in hybrid.

The strategic cooperation with the trailer manufacturer Krone from Werlte in Lower Saxony ensures competent industrialisation, a qualitative and fast market launch and a professional after-sales service in the ongoing process. The constant exchange of experience in the context of further development, efficiency increase, design, weight reduction and compliance with minimum quantities is an essential building block for the Trailer Dynamics team on the way to pre-series production.