SAG_twitter_MEME_smart-solar-transport_880x440_Mar20Using solar power and the Internet of Things, fleets can reduce fuel transportation costs – and help save the environment.

Fleet owners are doing all they can to reduce their exposure to fuel costs – and to be greener - by reducing consumption. Prices for fuel are unpredictable, fluctuating with the markets and subject to sharp rises, or even falls.

Fuel – gasoline and diesel - accounts for the biggest proportion of operating costs for fleets, from around 10% for small vans to 30% for big trucks. These costs can have a big impact on a fleet’s profitability.

But what if they could lower fuel consumption, and emissions, by using solar power?

It might seem implausible, but two DHL employees found a way. As part of the Deutsche Post DHL Group’s Start-Up Lab they founded TRAILAR, and created a sustainable, efficient and cost-effective solution for a new fuel conservation technology.trailar2

Using flexible three-millimeter-thick solar mats on the roofs of trucks, the solar cells use daylight—even without direct sunlight—to produce power that flows to the smart controller. This stores the generated energy in the vehicle battery on board.

Then the electricity can be used to power items such as the tail lift, lights or cooling units, lowering the burden on the generator and motor and thereby reducing fuel and maintenance costs.

Save tons of CO2

The smart controller sends the data on power consumption and produced solar energy to Cumulocity IoT, Software AG’s IoT platform. The platform calculates and aggregates key indicators such as fuel saved and presents it in pre-configured dashboards. This makes the value added by TRAILAR’s system directly visible and quantifiable in an energy footprint. The base solution, which can be expanded, can be installed within four hours and saves up to two tons of CO2 per truck per year.

The TRAILAR team is continuously developing the system to address as many logistics applications as possible. It's designed to incorporate more data in the future and offer more analysis, for instance, based on GPS data. Monitoring the temperature in refrigerated trucks could also be conceivable.

Thanks to Cumulocity IoT, TRAILAR makes cargo transport more sustainable and future-proof. The combination of producing energy and improving efficiency based on data is unique in the market and the industry is taking notice.

TRAILAR has received numerous logistics and environmental awards and was recognized by the UK’s Freight Transport Association (FTA) as the most innovative product of the year.

The TRAILAR system is currently in use with 2,000 vehicles worldwide by DHL Freight, Primark, the UK's Post Royal Mail, Truckkraft Bodies and Ryder, a DHL customer. Additional tests are underway in South Africa, Thailand and India.

With Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT, you can build an IoT solution in 90 days at low cost and get a guaranteed result. You can connect and manage any “thing” and analyze any amount of data from those things automatically and in real time.

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