Axle producer Valx has highlighted some of the features and applications of its E2! energy axle for trailers – incorporating a generator that turns motion into power, which can then be used to charge batteries for various on-board applications.
Following the concept’s initial launch at IAA in 2012, Valx explored the possibility of designing an axle for a all-electric refrigerated trailer, in collaboration with Dutch rental fleet Twan Heetkamp and Dutch refrigeration expert TRS Transportkoeling (nowadays owned by Carrier Transicold).
In 2013, the first prototype was presented at Transport Compleet in Venray.
“Conventional refrigeration units are driven by a diesel generator with a negative environmental impact (CO2 emissions, noise disturbance, fuel consumption),” said Martin van Willigen, Sales Director of Valx.
“The all-electric solution can be seen as a revolution in the refrigerated transport industry.”
The concept was further developed and tested, and today around 25 of these trailers are used every day in temperature-controlled transport in the Benelux region. This year and next year, a limited but significant number of units will be made available for the European market; and in 2020, serial production is planned.
The Valx E2! axle has also been deployed for a range of other trailer applications. The company currently offers two types: the E2! and the E2!HD variant.
The E2! produces limited power and can be used for charging conventional trailer batteries, making the trailer independent from the truck and more flexible. Over the last five years, the axle has been successfully used to recharge tailgate batteries.
The E2!HD produces a high amount of power, and also uses brake regeneration for maximum power output. This axle is used for the refrigeration units.
Together with its partners, Valx is working to determine whether its generator can be used in other applications, such as for a hydraulic/electric steering system, lifting and lowering the loading floor on a double-deck trailer, recharging batteries on an electric forklift, electrically driving a loading crane, and for air conditioning in animal transport.