BMW Group Logistik, in collaboration with Trailer Dynamics, has successfully tested an electrically powered semi-trailer in real-world logistics operations. This innovative e-trailer concept achieved remarkable fuel savings when paired with a diesel truck. The testing occurred over various distances and routes, and the results were promising.
- Short and Medium Distances: The e-trailer, when combined with a diesel truck, achieved average fuel savings of over 46% for short and medium distances.
- Long Distances: For long-distance routes, the fuel savings exceeded 48% compared to conventional trailers.
The e-trailer is unique in that it features its own battery and electric drive axle, which assists the semi-truck’s engine. Integrated sensors optimize the load ratio, further improving fuel economy. The e-trailer’s powered axle not only reduces the tractor’s energy consumption but also provides additional power during acceleration and on inclines.
The tests were conducted over both medium and long distances, with up to 250km per day on motorways and main roads. The e-trailer data was collected automatically during these journeys. Over long distances, energy modules for BMW electric cars were transported over 450km, resulting in significant diesel savings. The e-tailer’s battery was charged with 100% green energy, further contributing to its environmental benefits.
A remarkable achievement was demonstrated on the final day of testing, where an electric Volvo tractor was used in combination with an e-trailer. This combination achieved a driving distance of more than 600km without recharging and, therefore, a 100% CO2 reduction when using an e-truck and e-trailer together.
While e-trailers come with a higher initial weight that affects payload capacity, the increased total weight for trailers allowed in the EU helps offset this concern. The higher acquisition costs are balanced by lower operating costs, especially over long distances.
The BMW Group is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and supports the development of innovative technologies in transport logistics to achieve these goals. These e-trailer pilot projects are a significant step in realising their “Green Transport Logistics” strategy.