Racing car technology reaches road freight vehicles

August 26, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems (KERS), in the automotive world developed to give race cars an additional boost, could possibly soon help long haul trucks and delivery trucks to burn less fuel and emit less exhaust gases. As a welcome side effect, the vehicles get additional agility.

Two European technology startups, Skeleton Technologies and Adgero SARL, have developed a KERS custom-made for use in road freight vehicles. The hybrid system is designed to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 25%, and is optimised for intermodal road transport solutions.

The Adgero Hybrid System consists of a bank of high-power ultracapacitors working alongside an electrically-driven axle, which is mounted under the trailer. The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

Additional thrust: If required, the KERS provides some extra horsepowers.

The technology is projected to reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by 15-25%, depending on terrain and traffic profile. It will also pay for itself in as little as three years through reduced consumption alone, the designers advertise. Where subsidies are available the payback can be even quicker. The product has also been designed to exceed the typical 10 year lifetime of the trailer itself.

“Road haulage accounts for over a fifth of the EU’s total CO2 emissions, so fuel efficient solutions are crucial. We are beginning to see regenerative braking systems in automotive applications but the market clearly needs a similar solution for articulated lorries,” explains Mack Murray, CEO of Adgero SARL. To get the most out of the system, Adgero partners with Skeleton Technologies for the ultracaps: Skeleton, like Adgero a startup company, uses a patented graphene material for the coating of its capacitors. This allows for better conductivity and higher surface area, which translates into higher capacity.