DACHSER tests emission-free refrigerated truck trailers

The first four battery-electric refrigerated truck trailers have been put into test operation into the DACHSER network in Erlensee, Hamburg and Langenau. The aim is to gain important experience with the still evolving technology of the eTrailers from the manufacturer Krone in everyday logistics.

eTrailers are being tested at DACHSER Food Logistics

Various components have been installed so that the trailer can be reliably cooled electrically for a longer period of time: a modern, highly efficient cooling unit, a lightweight battery with a capacity of 23 kWh and a generator axis. This kind of eTrailer is lighter than a fully equipped model that is cooled with diesel. The battery is charged within three to four hours directly at the loading gates. This is also where the pre-cooling takes place. No extra charging infrastructure is required for the eTrailers.

In addition to the battery, the generator axis supplies energy for cooling. It is comparable to a dynamo on a bicycle and also enables the use of kinetic energy from driving. If the truck is traveling at more than 20 km/h, the generator axis supplies enough power to operate the cooling system completely independent of the battery and also to charge the battery.

The use of battery-electric refrigerated truck trailers not only improves the carbon footprint of food transportation, they also cause significantly less noise than diesel refrigeration units.

This pilot operation is part of the DACHSER Climate Protection strategy. In particular, the company supports and promotes the development and use of zero-emission vehicles in logistics.

Stable cold chains

"With the first four eTrailers in the DACHSER network, we now have the opportunity to put the technology through its paces in everyday operations," says Tobias Ritter, Department Head Production and Network Processes, DACHSER Food Logistics. "When transporting food, the cold chain must never be interrupted. Therefore, the refrigeration must always function reliably, the ranges must be stable and longer downtimes must also be possible, e.g. when delivering to commercial warehouses or in traffic jams." With a fully charged battery, the trailer can be cooled for around five to six hours, even without an additional external power supply or the generator axis.

Various test scenarios are now being played out at the three branches, starting with the use of the eTrailer in the shuttle service and on local journeys, up to long-distance routes, for example from Langenau to Hamburg.

"Together with our long-standing trailer partners, Krone (vehicle manufacturer), Krone-Fleet (trailer rental company) and Carrier Transicold (refrigeration unit), we are deliberately taking the step of testing new technologies in live operation. We have been doing this successfully for many years with our towing units," adds Christian Schütz, Department Head Technics/Technical Purchase at DACHSER. "In the future, we want to deploy even more of these units to support our climate protection goals. In addition to the operational issues when deploying them in our branches, also economic factors play a special role for the purchase and maintenance of these trailers, which we will verify in detail in test operations."

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