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Learning About Retardation

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One of the methods that truck drivers of the future will be able to alleviate their range anxiety in an electric truck is to use the electric motor to brake the vehicle when decelerating, all future truck drivers will be learning about retardation, but not about the jake brake.

This video is from Scania , but the basic principles are the same across most of the electric trucks which are coming onto the market. The concept behind how retardation works is that the energy and momentum that the truck has, at a particular speed, can be used to in reverse to charge the battery when braking is required.

Basically, the drive line when accelerating uses the battery or another electrical source to turn the electric motor, which then turns the driveline and gives motive power to the wheels. When trying to slow a vehicle, the power is shut off and the wheels spin the driveline, which drives up to the electric motor, which is then used to charge the battery back up.

This means there is a constant flow of energy in an out of the battery as the truck drives along. The charging is going to be most effective when the truck has plenty of momentum, which normally occurs when it is fully loaded or running in undulating countryside.

Here’s a few more energy saving tips:

Image: Scania Trucks


This video shows the Scania system, but you will find similar systems on most of the most sophisticated electric trucks, whereby the retardation is available in number of steps from weaker to stronger and that pressing the break pedal up to a certain point does not actually activate the braking system, but activates the retardation system, until the drivers foot indicates that more braking is required and the service brakes need to be brought into the process.

This may be a bit alien to those are currently playing their trade with a diesel truck, but once electric or fuel cell vehicles which rely on an electric motor and a battery become more common place it will be a useful skill for the truck driver to be able to lengthen the range available to make life a little easier and less stressful when worrying about where the truck will get its next chance to charge the batteries.


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