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Refrigerated semi-trailer

Recently, we have increasingly referred to purely electrically powered truck prototypes, which, despite the shortened frame of a tractor unit, are slowly conquering the possibilities in long-distance transport. At the bottom in the last video, there is even a variant with 900 kWh.

But this chapter is not at all about the advance of electrical engineering in truck drives, but about a strange guest high up in front of a trailer with reefer. What is meant is a diesel engine that works from time to time.

Here you can see it in the picture, right in the middle as probably the most important assembly group. The tank, which of course has to be filled like in a diesel truck, is not visible. The video below shows how easy it is to start and also a little bit of the noise it makes. Of course, it can also do this independently if the trailer is parked somewhere in the botany and cooling power is required.

The video also shows the possible connection to a power current socket. It is therefore also possible to keep the load of goods cool using electricity. Years ago, this brought technology onto the scene to also implement this using batteries under the trailer. However, one thing was ruled out, namely supplying power to the batteries from the towing vehicle.

One remembered the recuperation, which is of course also possible with a trailer. It knows exactly when to brake anyway or has to be braked. And with a little fine-tuning, it was possible to supply the batteries with electricity. But it was like the photovoltaics that were launched over and over again, it was not even half enough in vehicle operation.

So the diesel engine stayed with its tank, which shared the space under the reefer with the batteries. Now one has come up with the idea of actually replacing the diesel engine. One now relies on a single axle on the trailer and have reconstructed it so that it can supply enough power not only during recuperation, but also during normal driving.

At first glance a really crazy idea. Just imagine that not only with the current diesel drive, but also with the future all-electric truck. Instead of a line to the rear, valuable electricity would then be converted into movement and then back into electrical energy.

Nevertheless, the Krone company is already now convinced of the solution, calculating that the diesel engine on the refrigerated semi-trailer consumes around 3 l/h, while the front diesel only consumes around 1.5 l/h more. Of course, the exhaust gases at the front can also be detoxified much better.

The new one without a diesel engine at the trailer, but also together with conventional combustion engine technology, has not yet made it into the brochure. That's why Krone doesn't reveal how long the energy will last if the trailer is parked in the middle of nowhere. Shouldn't the old solution still be mercilessly superior here?

The batteries weigh as much as the diesel engine and a full tank, both together with the cooling unit at least 760 kg. If we generously assume 160 kg for the cooling unit, 600 kg remain for the batteries, the typical weight of almost 80 kWh today. Now compare the range of an ID.3 with a large battery with that of a Golf TDI.

If you were to use 48V technology for the detachable connection between the towing vehicle and the trailer, you would need around 1,000 A for a 50 kW charging capacity. That sounds like a lot, but with the 800V technology, almost 500 A flow at 350 kW.

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