Whilst all the well known global truck manufacturers have been concentrating on the front end of the artic combination, a relatively new start German company has been spending time at the back end !
Trailer Dynamics are one of the leading European players looking into the key area of producing a green solution for the currently non- motive end of a tractor semi-trailer combination. Under the Newton eTrailer brand name, they have already produced a trailer using a 200kWh battery pack “strapped” to a trailer axle.
Of course, there’s a lot more to it than simply “strapping” a battery onto an axle, the communication process and the sensors required have been package into a what they call the “Predictive Drivetrain Control”.
Predictive Powertrain Control (PDC)
Working similar to the software available on many truck manufacturers driving software the PDC helps maximise the range and performance of the 200kWh LiFePo4 battery (150 kWh nominal capacity), resulting , according to Trailer dynamics of up to 40% fuel saving over a distance of 325 to 375 miles.
CATL and the next generation
Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL) the leading Chinese battery manufacturer and the suppliers to many of the world’s leading automotive OEM’s will develop a bespoke cell to pack (CTP) and manufacture the battery, and obviously supply. Interestingly, there’s no mention of an exclusive agreement.
The new battery will feature CATL’s well proven Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) chemistry, whilst not at the cutting edge of battery development it is in-line with the eNewtons requirements for long life cycles and durability and reliability.
As mentioned, the battery pack will feature CTP technology and as opposed to air cooled will be liquid cooled producing around 300kWh , 50% up on the existing battery.
Next eNewton development
The next generation eNewton featuring the CATL battery will be available in 2023 but as we all know the semi-trailer is just one part of a two part story. Integrating the software and Battery Management System (BMS) into a complete vehicle which could have multiple makes of trucks at the front in a real world logistics scenario is going to be perhaps, the biggest challenge.
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