Not a robot car, but no driver aboard
The way the vehicles are controlled and steered through the traffic may remind to the military drones deployed in Afghanistan or Irak, flown by a pilot in a high-tech data container in the United States. Unlike these military drones however, the T-pod transports goods from A to B peacefully. But where is the benefit if a driver is needed anyway? The answer: T-pod drivers can handle multiple trucks at the same time, the company argues.
With this concept – a battery-electric truck carrying 15 standard pellets with a total weight up to 20 tons over a distance up to 200 km (124 miles) – the T-pod can reduce carbon dioxide emissions (more precisely: local carbon dioxide emissions) in Sweden by as much as 60% by 2030, the group says. In addition, the vehicle is said to improve road safety and offer more cost-effectiveness in road transport.
The T-pod is about 7 meters long and has an operating weight of 20 tons. Battery capacity is 200 kWh. The fact that it is controlled by a remote operator provides the advantage of human flexibility and decision making, but the high degree of automation enables it to take advantage of a self-driving system, says Einride.
But the T-pod is just a vehicle. Einride’s plans are bigger: The company intends to establish a complete new freight transport system that goes much beyond the rolling material. On July 4th, Einride presented a prototype of the remotely controlled e-truck in the Swedish town of Almedalen. This marks a major step towards the company’s ambition to deliver a complete transport system between the cities of Gothenburg and Helsingborg by 2020. The system will embrace 200 T-pods and associated charging stations along the route. The route will have a capacity of 2 million pallets per year. Because of the high interest from potential and signed clients, the company is now exploring the potential of expanding the route earlier than originally planned.
For an explanatory video of the T-pod, click here.