E-trailers offer sustainability avenue for any powertrain

The commercial transport sector is scrambling to clean up emissions in the wake of tightening regulations and growing environmental concerns. Many truckmakers are pouring investment into battery electric and hydrogen-powered systems, but these models carry a hefty price premium, and for most fleets the transition will be a gradual and potentially expensive one.

Tackling the trailer end of the equation could offer a more immediate and affordable avenue for sustainability improvements. Trailers are heavy and a real fuel (or range) drain on the trucks pulling them, but an electrified trailer (e-trailer) can lighten the load. While the addition of electric motors and a battery onto the trailer itself unavoidably adds weight, the setup more than makes up for it by supporting traction and hence lowering demand on the tractor. For diesel trucks it essentially turns the tractor-trailer unit into a hybrid, while for battery or fuel cell vehicles it provides added range.

“We need action now on climate change, and these trailers can be deployed more quickly and with less capital than converting a whole truck fleet to electric,” says Range Energy Founder and Chief Executive Ali Javidan.

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