Hybrid trailer-log trucks: the move to electrification

16 September 2021

It is no secret that electrification is the future. Over just a few years, electrification moved from being a concept to being a reality. And we’re not talking about cars anymore, we’re talking heavy-duty trucks used in the energy, mining, and forestry sectors.

Since technology for full electrification of these heavy trucks isn’t yet ready to meet contemporary operational requirements — partly due to their weight and the long distances they need to travel — FPInnovations is taking a big step in that direction to make this happen.

Drive axle powered by an electric motor

FPInnovations is working on a cutting-edge project to develop a hybrid tractor-trailer for use in forestry operations. The objective is to replace one of the conventional axles on forestry trailers with a drive axle powered by an electric motor. The system would be combined with a conventional tractor to create a parallel hybrid configuration.

The approximately C$2.5-million hybrid tractor-trailer project falls under the umbrella of Natural Resources Canada $155-million Clean Growth Program (CGP) that invests in clean technology and R&D in the energy, mining, and forestry sectors.

The benefits are many

The hybrid system, with regenerative braking that recharges the batteries, will be compatible with log trailers and biomass trailers. There could also be major benefits for the mining sector as well as for non-Canadian markets.

Potential benefits include:

• Peak fuel savings of up to 15 % (lower on average), depending on application and drive cycle
• GHG reductions up to 40 tonnes per truck per year, depending on duty cycle and utilization rate
• Extra driven axle can provide almost 50% more traction on slippery terrain
• Regenerative braking power can reduce brake fade and increase safety in mountainous terrain
• Significant cost savings from reduced fuel consumption, reduced haul assists, as well as from time savings due to increased operational efficiency.

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Source: fpinnovations