SAF-Holland is now in the market and product development phases of its trailer electric axles for North American applications, especially for fleets with fully electric reefer units. The company briefed trucking reporters on the Trakr e-axle at a March 6 news conference at the annual meeting of the American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council in Orlando, Florida.
“We’re seeing society in general moving toward cleaner, greener, transportation systems. And Trakr is a flexible solution for fleets that want to do that and want to be sure they’re in compliance should that trailer go to a state with stricter emissions, such as California,” said Bill Hicks, director, product planning, SAF-Holland.
First shown as a concept at the 2018 IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Hanover, Germany, the company’s electric axles have since gone through further development, the company said. The SAF-Holland Trakr design uses a high-voltage generator module for electric power regeneration to lower the emissions and fuel consumption of the overall vehicle. In addition, the e-axles have been undergoing rigorous testing in real-world operations in Europe and South Africa.
“The initial feedback from the drivers and fleet managers in Europe has been very positive, and there is an increase in demand for equipping more test vehicles with the electric axles,” said Mike Ginocchio, vice president, Engineering – Americas.
SAF-Holland views the ideal application for the Trakr being refrigerated fleets so their trailer refrigeration units can run fully electric. The company stated that “purely electric operation reduces noise and will help fleets meet new proposed zero-emissions standards. In addition, this allows the trailer’s TRU to operate when uncoupled without the use of diesel fuel, which is highly beneficial for night-time inner-city deliveries. Electrical operation also extends the service life of the individual TRU components.”
Other features of the Trakr include a modular construction strategy so components are “configured for ideal integration, resulting in a modular system for maximized system efficiency.” The modular trailer e-axle system allows for easy installation by trailer OEMs and uses standard assembly line procedures.
Maintenance is described as simple and cost-efficient, as the electrical generator drive unit does not have to be removed when servicing the wheel ends. Wheel-end componentry, except for proprietary hub assemblies, remains unchanged for easy serviceability. Wear parts such as brake pads, calipers and brake disc rotors are standard SAF-Holland components to ensure and simplify spare parts supply and servicing.
SAF-Holland stated that the Trakr e-axle will be available in the future on both SAF mechanical and air suspension tandem axle slider systems for reefer trailer applications.