Bosch to show regenerative braking semitrailer axles at IAA

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German auto supplier Bosch says it has developed technology to electrify the of a , making it a good solution for refrigerated food-delivery trucks and autonomous navigation in parking lots or loading bay areas. It’ll the technolgy the Commercial Vehicles in Hannover later this month.

says the units will be available either as complete new electrified semitrailers or as retrofit units, and they’re based on existing technology long in use in hybrid and electric vehicles to feed electricity generated during braking into the trailer’s battery system. Bosch says it’s relying on passenger cars for the electrified axle, using two SMG180 electric motors that “already features in hundreds of thousands of hybrid and electric cars worldwide, including the German postal service’s StreetScooters.” They work intermittently, starting only if they can recuperate energy, with the electricity fed into the motors to provide a boost during hill starts or to power the refrigeration unit. Also included in the system are a vehicle control unit and an inverter, with a battery system also required.

The system is considered an ideal solution for refrigerated trailers, where Bosch estimates they could save up to €10,000 (about $11,500) and around 2,300 gallons of diesel fuel a year, with lower CO2 emissions and much quieter operation for refrigerated delivery vehicles. It also holds promise for automated trailer parking and use at depots, since adding a powertrain to the axle brings the ability to move the trailer around a parking lot without use of a rig to pull it, and with an electric motor at each end of the axle significantly reducing the trailer’s turning radius.

Bosch says it doesn’t yet have a price tag for its system, but says it “must pay back the original investment after two years’ operation at the latest.”

The IAA Commercial Vehicles show takes place Sept. 20-27.

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