Trailering

GM shortens trailer stopping time with new, innovative eBoost technology

A new technology developed by General Motors may change the trailering experience as we know it, making it safer for everyone involved.

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

For some folks, towing a trailer is second nature. It's like riding a bicycle or going for a swim. But for a vast majority of others, towing can be intimidating, scary and even downright dangerous. No matter what category you fall into, truck makers have been working feverishly to come up with new and exciting technologies to make towing easier and safer for you.

One of the biggest challenges of towing, at least at speed, is the abrupt need to come to a stop. Whether it be someone pull out in front of you or the traffic light turned red sooner than you'd expect. Towing down a grade in high winds can create even more issues.

eBoost braking assist trailer This diagram shows the impact of the new eBoost technology.Photo courtesy of General Motors

To help with towing and stopping, electronic trailer brake controllers are common on rigs that tow. They help control the trailer by apply the brakes in the trailer. Setting up a trailer brake control is often described as an art, not a science.

That's where new General Motors tech comes in. Using their electronic brake system from their heavy-duty pickup, the company has fitted it to a trailer for the purpose of improving braking. Their goal was to equip a trailer with the company's eBoost braking system and see how well they could stop with it.

Their goal was to take a 2020 Silverado HD without a trailer and see how far it took to stop. Then they attached a trailer with 9,000 pounds and set a target of stopping in the same distance. They were within three feet.

That means in a full-on, emergency stop scenario a truck towing a 9,000-pound trailer can stop as short as a truck without a trailer. Not to overwhelm you with hyperbole, but that is a game changer.

Why? There's no complicated setup of the trailer brake controller. The equipment already exists, and GM managed to do it with around $1,000 worth of hardware that's already available. It would require a trailer manufacturer to integrate it with their trailers, but the safety benefits are huge.

Unlike some aftermarket anti-lock braking systems, primarily from Bosch, this system communicates with the truck, and can even use electronic stability control to reduce trailer sway.

It's a prototype at this point. GM is hoping to find a trailer maker to help develop the technology. The marketing department is still figuring out all of the details, but in addition to offering it on a brand-new trailer, it might even be possible for certain dealerships or installers to add it to existing trailers after the fact.

While there is a truck war going on with how can tow and haul the most, the efforts that GM is making right now for improving towing safety, such as their invisible trailering system and this prototype trailer brake system, makes the roads safer for everyone – even if they don't drive a GM.

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The Rivian R1T is undergoing final testing in Arizona.

Photo courtesy of Rivian

Four new performance testing videos featuring the Rivian R1T all-electric pickup truck have dropped on YouTube. Three of the videos show a specific area of performance while the last wraps it all up showcasing a trail ride. Whether you're an electric vehicle enthusiast, truck fan, or someone who enjoys the road less traveled (or a combination thereof), there's something for everyone.

The first video hones in on the launch performance of the truck. The R1T, like other electric vehicles, has power at all four wheels, giving it instant torque when the driver presses on the accelerator. The wildly wrapped R1T rapidly gains speed as it heads down a dirt path. Watch the video below.

The second video features the R1T drifting around a series of corners at a controlled facility in the Arizona desert. With the dust kicked up, the effect is dramatic. Late last year, Rivian showcased its model's ability to complete a tank turn. The company has already trademarked the phrases "Tank Steer" and "Tank Turn". You can see the drifting video below.

The third video Rivian posted features an off-roading adventure with the R1T speeding down a desert trail. The drive is a test for the dynamics of the vehicle which will have to compete with the suspension and handling capabilities of traditional trucks like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, Nissan Titan, Toyota Tundra, and GMC Sierra when it comes to market. Watch the video below.

Rivian says, "Last weekend, we grabbed our cameras and chased a few engineers around the desert as they put the R1T through its paces." The video shows off trail riding, rock climbing, and some on-track driving. Let's be honest, this one is the most exciting - especially the rick climbing bit. You can watch the full video below.

Rivian is looking to start deliveries of the vehicle in 2021. Production was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19.

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