BMW Tests Electric Semi-trailer

BMW Group Logistik and Trailer Dynamics have successfully tested an electric-powered semi-trailer in real-world logistics operations. The result was an average of over 46 percent fuel savings in the diesel truck attached.

The testing took place over four days of pilots over short and medium distances in and around Dingolfing, BMW Group’s headquarters. Most of the long distance driving was from there to Leipzig. The series of tests were used to test the capabilities of the e-trailer and identify the best application scenarios for it.

The e-trailer from Trailer Dynamics has its own batteyr pack and electric drive axle. The drive axle on the trailer is meant to supplement the attached semi-truck’s engine to improve efficiency, especially during startup and while underway. Integrated sensors in the kingpin connection between the truck and trailer ensure load ratios are optimum to avoid jackknifing.

The fuel savings are somewhat counterbalanced by the e-trailer’s added weight, which lowers payload capacity. Offsets for e-vehicles in the EU help to mitigate that. Lower operating costs also counter the higher up-front purchase cost of the e-trailer. Over long distances, the decarbonization offered by the e-trailer is significant and can save costs.

The real-world testing will now enter a second phase.