ZF set to showcase latest electric trailer concept

In News4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineSeptember 22, 2023

ZF’s latest version of its concept to electrify the trailer will be on show at the NUFAM commercial vehicles trade show in Karlsruhe, Germany.

The ZF electrified trailer solution is made possible by integrating ZF’s AxTrax 2 electric axle with a modular battery system box for recuperation and traction support.

Thanks to its ability to recuperate energy from braking, the system can effectively convert a heavy-duty diesel truck into a hybrid vehicle, generating up to 16% fuel and CO2 savings, while the optional plug-in variant can save up to 40%.

The trailer also provides benefits for zero-emissions electrified heavy trucks by extending their range.

ZF’s Commercial Vehicle Solutions division has also announced it will cooperate with European axle and suspension systems manufacturer BPW to offer a fully integrated running gear system for trailer builders, including ZF’s AxTrax 2 electric axle.

Trailer manufacturers Kässbohrer and Krone will also start to implement ZF´s electrification system into their platforms.

“Electrification for trailers is an innovative solution to decarbonise road freight transport in the very near future,” said Dr. Bernd Meurer, responsible for the electric trailer program at ZF.

“Instead of solely being pulled by the truck, the new approach provides additional traction while generating fuel savings, reducing CO2 emissions and improving sustainability,” he said.

“The fact that industry leaders are embracing our system demonstrates that we have taken the right concept approach in developing a lightweight and modular system that can be adapted to suit the diverse requirements and various applications of manufacturers and fleet operators.”

Thore Bakker, general manager business unit trailer solutions & mobility services at BPW, said, “Every trailer needs a chassis, suspension and braking technology that can be trusted.

“With our axles for 7.5t trucks and the generator axles for reefers, we already have a lot of experience regarding the integration of electric drives,” he said.

“It therefore makes perfect sense that ZF, with expertise in drivelines, cooperates with BPW to offer a robust and highly engineered running gear solution with the AxTrax 2 axle for recuperation and traction support for semitrailers that can be easily assembled by trailer builders and is fully trusted by the fleets.”

Advantages of the ZF electrified trailer technology

Customers will be able to draw on ZF’s expertise in combining brake control and electrification systems with innovative technologies, such as the AxTrax 2 electrified axle system which enables recuperation and traction support to deliver up to 210kW continuous power and 26,000Nm of peak output of seamless torque.

The ZF system has been designed as a highly integrated solution enabling manufacturers to combine electrified technologies into their own trailer platforms more easily. The system takes advantage of braking energy recuperation to recharge the batteries to generate 16% fuel and CO2 savings, while the Plug-in Hybrid version can achieve 40% when combined with an ICE-powered truck.

ZF’s electrified trailer solution is designed to meet future standards and comply with national and regional regulations. The first electric trailers are expected to be operating on EU roads, once regularity classification has been received.