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Semi-trailer axles with electric drive will soon appear on the market and they will generate power themselves. There are several possibilities of using it.

SAF Holland will soon launch its electric semi-trailer axles TRAKr and TRAKe on the market. These axles recover energy, which makes it possible to reduce emissions and fuel consumption. Thanks to the so-called ‘recuperation’, the energy from braking is converted into electricity, which can be used e.g. to supply the unit in cold stores (in the case of TRAKr) or to drive a semi-trailer (TRAKe). 

TRAKe, source: SAF Holland

The SAF TRAKr axles use a high voltage generator module (400 V) for recuperation. It allows temporary operation of the cooling equipment using only electrical energy, reducing noise and emissions and at the same time, extending the service life of the cooling equipment components.

The SAF TRAKe, on the other hand, a semi-trailer axle with additional electric drive (maximum 147 kW or 200 hp), drives the wheels of the semi-trailer, relieving the tractor’s internal combustion engine. This significantly reduces fuel consumption and improves the dynamics of the set. 

“Introducing electric drive into a trailer also has great advantages for traction and stability,” said Olaf Drewes, Head of Development at SAF-Holland.

In terms of noise and exhaust emissions, the new axles aim to meet the legal requirements of the future. This also applies to the challenges of night-time delivery in the city, for example in the case of transporting goods at controlled temperatures,” Drewes added.

Bosch axles

SAF Holland is not the only manufacturer that has decided to use the potential of semi-trailer axles. At the IAA trade fair in Hanover last year, Bosch presented a similar solution for manoeuvring semi-trailers using their own power, even remotely. 

Photo: Bosch


Bosch used the SMG180 electric motor, which is found in many hybrid and electric vehicles, to develop this solution.

The SMG180 is designed to generate current when braking a truck using the forces it generates. Then the energy will be stored in accumulators and the system will use it as required to:

– drive the cooling unit, which will allow the resignation from the combustion engine and will bring annual savings of about 9,000 litres of fuel;

– support the tractor unit, e.g. on hills. This solution will relieve the tractor’s engine, improve dynamics and reduce fuel consumption;

– drive trailers. The use of SMG180 will allow the trailer to move independently. This will be possible with a remote control or even with an autopilot.

Photo: Pixabay


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