GM Aims to Make Towing (and Braking) a Trailer Easier
When it comes to towing, most of the attention is focused on a truck’s pulling capacity.
Companies like to brag about best-in-class capabilities. Others engage in feats of strength, including a literal tug-of-war between Tesla’s new Cybertruck and a Ford F-150 (spoiler: Tesla won going away).
Braking for Safety
But General Motors notes that being able to stop quickly also is pretty important. To this end, it’s developing a system that promises to put truck-trailer braking on par with that of their stand-alone counterparts.
A demonstration model fitted with the technology cut stopping distances for the combo by as much as by 20%. That’s a 40-ft difference when traveling at 60 mph.
The key to the concept is applying the same brake technology available on the latest Chevrolet/GMC pickups to trailers. This means using upgraded brake rotors and calipers—as well as higher performance tires.
The trailer also would need to be outfitted with GM’s eBoost electronic-assist technology. The system, which is being launched on 2020-model pickups and the all-new C8 Corvette, combines four components (master cylinder, vacuum booster, vacuum pump and electronic brake control module) into a single unit to enhance performance and improve packaging.
The truck and trailer brakes can communicate over the standard seven-pin trailer wire connector, without the need for any extra connections. This would allow the two units to synch braking and optimize performance.
GM says the integrated design would give drivers greater control and confidence during towing maneuvers. The system also could provide stability control to the trailer to lessen trailer sway.
From the truck side, the system is ready to go. But GM says trailers currently don’t have the capability to support the technology.
The concept is intended to inspire trailer manufacturers to work with GM to make the necessary upgrades, which could involve licensing eBoost. The carmaker also is teaming with the North America Trailer Manufacturers and Recreational Vehicle Industry Assn. on development projects.
GM made a video to demonstrate and explain the technology. It did a good job of highlighting the benefits during a “panic” stop on the highway.
That’s all well and good. But just for fun, check out the upcoming electric variant of the F-150 pulling a freight train filled with 42 conventionally powered pickups.
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