Regenerative braking can not only save on brake wear, the energy can be captured and used in situations where additional power is beneficial such as vehicle launch or steep/lengthy inclines to decrease fuel consumption
Numerous models of hybrid and battery electric passenger cars already utilize regenerative braking and now this technology is coming to commercial trailers. A drive axle is used for one of the trailer axles in this new strategy. During downhill runs and during braking situations, the axle powers an electric motor-generator which stores the generated electric power in a lithium ion battery pack. When appropriate for power to be applied via this axle the process is reversed.
Little data is available for this system, but expectations are for a 5 to 15 percentage improvement in fuel economy.
The storage battery can supply power to other electrical systems if so designed to power the trailer refrigeration or power any trailer telematics features. With additional lines back to the cab, it may also be possible to provide battery support for HVAC or hotel loads.
The system adds 400 to 500 pounds to the trailer.
The system adds several expensive components including an automated control system.