Skeleton Technologies’ graphene ultracapacitors will be at the heart of a new transport fleet trial in the UK, turning rigid diesel trucks into hybrids through power from regenerative braking for the first time. 

The breakthrough hybrid truck system named UltraBoost, developed by French transport tech developer Adgero and Europe’s leading ultracapacitor manufacturer Skeleton Technologies, will be installed and trialled on UK delivery routes in coming weeks.

An agreement was recently signed for Fraikin, one of the largest commercial vehicle fleet services companies in the UK, to trial the hybrid system to boost efficiency through fuel savings, extra power and reduced emissions for rigid lorry applications.

Fraikin will supply the Iveco Eurocargo test vehicle equipped with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) technology to the British division of a leading international logistics company for use on its urban UK delivery routes, including Greater London. Alternatech, a leading Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) conversion firm based in the UK will also assist to complete the demonstrator project.

The hybrid solution is projected to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions by up to 15-30 per cent. During braking, the unit becomes a generator, recovering kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost as heat. At the heart of this technology is a bank of five high-power graphene-based ultracapacitors, sourced exclusively from Skeleton Technologies.

The ultracapacitor manufacturer worked closely with Adgero to develop an 800V ultracapacitor power module, consisting of five 160V units of cylindrical cells, to meet the needs of road freight vehicles.

Skeleton Technologies CEO Taavi Madiberk commented:

“To enable this solution for Adgero, we developed intelligent power modules with a proprietary management system that allows for smart monitoring and control of the energy/power profile according to customer requirements.”

President of Adgero Mack Murray said it was important that the demonstrator trial would include delivery routes in London, considering the city’s efforts to tackle diesel vehicle emissions:

“Our solution will help demonstrate the efficiencies that companies can realise through reduced fuel consumption and greater power."

“Vehicle emissions are a major concern for London and we’re proud to be working on part of the solution. We look forward to exploring the future of our application on other routes and vehicles in the weeks and months to come.”

Alternatech will manage the conversion of the hybrid power system for the vehicle and the commercial development of the system in the UK, while Fraikin will manage leasing arrangements.

The UltraBoost KERS technology was recently unveiled as the world’s first operational road transport hybrid system at Britain’s largest commercial vehicle show in April this year. Leading European manufacturer SDC Trailers installed the Adgero and Skeleton Technologies system on a 13.6m curtainsider trailer, finished in the livery of major UK-based transport and distribution company, Eddie Stobart.

About UltraBoost

Adgero’s UltraBoost is a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) unit consisting of a bank of five high-power Skeleton Technologies SkelMod 50F 160V ultracapacitor modules, working alongside an electrically driven axle to capture energy loss and use this energy to re-power the vehicle.

During braking, the unit becomes a generator via a compact and lightweight YASA motor, recovering kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost as heat and storing it in the ultracapacitors. The technology is controlled by an intelligent management system that tracks driver input in order to automatically control the regenerative braking and acceleration boost.

KERS is projected to reduce fuel consumption and associated CO2 emissions by up to 15-30 per cent, depending on terrain and traffic profile, while the regenerative braking system significantly reduces brake wear and associated maintenance costs.