China’s Geely introduces new clean-energy semi-truck
By Chad Elmore11 November 2021
Homtruck concept designed to offer net zero-carbon freight transportation.
A new clean-energy semi-truck has been added to the list of anticipated machines that is already populated by companies such as Hyzon, Nikola and Tesla. The new Homtruck is a product of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group’s commercial vehicle brand, Farizon Auto. The company said production and first deliveries were planned for early 2024.
When deliveries begin, Geely predicted Homtruck “would be one of the most advanced and cleanest commercial vehicles on the road which focuses on efficiency, driver and pedestrian safety, and boasts major breakthroughs in sustainable powertrains.”
The Homtruck’s architecture is designed to work with a number of powertrain options including range extender, methanol hybrid and pure electric with a battery swapping option based on government standards recently released by China’s Ministry of Industry and Technology, which would allow for the Homtruck to be charged at service stations across highways in minutes.
“Farizon Auto’s Homtruck is the result of the synergies between Geely Holding’s technological expertise and its partners in the global automotive industry,” said Eric Li, chairperson of Zhejiang Geely Holding Group. “The Homtruck represents a significant move towards a net zero-carbon freight transportation system and opens the door to a new era for the logistics industry”.
The truck’s name is derived from the original aspiration of its creators to make a semi-truck that feels like home, meeting the living and emotional needs of its drivers. Semi-truck drivers around the world spend a lot of time in their vehicles, often more so than they do at home. The mobile space created by the Homtruck integrates “work, life, and entertainment.”
Farizon Auto’s engineers reportedly studied the needs of independent commercial vehicle drivers and fleet operators when developing the truck’s hardware and software solutions.
The Homtruck can be connected to big data platforms to help drivers obtain the most optimal orders in real time, analyze and track deliveries, and calculate operating costs along the routes. The company said Homtruck’s brain can utilize vehicle sensors to analyze traffic data in real time and receive route recommendations. In addition, the energy management system can also manage the the truck’s power or fuel supply to achieve the most optimal economic performance and is able to recommend optimal refuelling or recharging routes to the driver.
Home on the road
Farizon Auto said it designed a cockpit that applies the concept of home to over-the-road trucking and optimized the space to create a driving and a living area. The design includes a bathroom complete with a shower and toilet, single bed, refrigerator, tea maker, kitchen and a washing machine.
The ergonomic seat design and high-definition camera help ensure drivers are well-rested and well-focused, said the company, while an intelligent artificial intellegence assistant coupled with full 360-degree cameras help to keep the driver aware of any issues around the vehicle at all times..
Designers applied soft-touch fabrics, sustainable plastics, and bamboo grain materials to create a “healthy eco-friendly environment inspired by the peaceful bamboo forests of China,” said the company.
Homtruck is expected to be able to utilize Level 4 hands-off autonomous drive functions and will also introduce convoying features for longer journeys which allow trucks to communicate with each other to maintain safe speed and distance that will lower operator stress levels. Hardware sensors such as lidar, millimetre-wave radar, ultrasonic radar will be standard equipment along with 5G and V2X communication. The Homtruck will also be fully capable of being upgraded overtime using over-the-air (OTA) software upgrades.
Farizon Auto was founded in October 2016 and its first products were a pure electric light commercial vehicle and a city bus. The company was was establishedby its parent, Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, to strategically enter the commercial vehicle segment. Geely, for its part, has invested heavily in methanol-fueled automobiles and trucks in recent years.