Why Waste Braking Energy When You Can Harness It?

Electrification goes beyond a truck’s drivetrain. While purely electric trucks get most of the attention, electrified powertrain components offer real-world fuel savings in the near term. Take, for example, ConMet’s innovative PreSet Plus Electric Hub, an in-wheel electric drive system that aims to deliver a robust and efficient hybrid propulsion system designed for commercial trucks, tractors and trailers. The electric hub applies the power captured from its regenerative braking system directly to the wheels, allowing the hybrid system to lower the required torque on the engine and that results in fuel savings.

That’s cool, but what exactly is regenerative braking? Regenerative braking uses the aforementioned electric drive system to capture the energy that is created when the brakes are applied—in today’s braking system, that energy is wasted as heat—and uses that energy to supplement the drive power. In the PreSet Plus Electric Hub application, drive power would be driven at the wheel end as opposed to utilizing the driveline. In addition to fuel savings, the PreSet Plus Electric Hub could also reduce carbon emissions and improve tire life by limiting uneven tire wear and drag.

The Electric Hub is built upon ConMet’s PreSet Plus foundation. Unveiled in 2012, the PreSet Plus provides an all-in-one solution, including an integrated spindle nut, precision bearing spacer, premium wheel seals and pre-adjusted bearings that are optimized to withstand demanding operating conditions. From there, the PreSet Plus Electric Hub utilizes regenerative braking to capture energy and requires no gearboxes, drive shafts or differentials allowing the system to integrate seamlessly with existing vehicle architectures. When compared to the current hybrid electrification offerings that reside in the powertrain or axle, ConMet said the in-wheel system reduces complexity, is lighter weight, and minimizes drivetrain losses.

ConMet is working with industry leaders, including Great Dane, to further development and testing for trailer applications. For more information and all future announcements visit www.conmet.com/innovation.