- Sustainability: innovative cooling units save fuel and enable CO2-free load compartment temperature control thanks to green electricity
- Higher investment, but lower overall costs: New technology successfully tested in practice for almost a year
Weinheim, 5 April 2022. The logistics service provider trans-o-flex ThermoMed, which specialises in nationwide pharmaceutical distribution with active temperature control at 2 to 8 degrees Celsius, has ordered 174 delivery vehicles with a new type of electric cooling system. 74 vehicles from VW and 100 from Mercedes will be fitted with an innovative temperature control system, which, although more expensive to buy than conventional cooling units, is quieter and cleaner in operation and lower in overall costs. The reason for this is to save fuel.
Conventional cooling units in vans obtain the necessary energy exclusively from the vehicle’s engine. “When the vehicle stops for delivery, the engine may have to keep running to ensure that the temperature is maintained,” explains trans-o-flex-CEO Wolfgang P. Albeck. “This not only leads to higher fuel consumption but also higher noise pollution.”
Both can be avoided by a new, electrically operated cooling unit, which ThermoMed has been testing in practice on three vehicles since April last year: in the pure refrigeration range of 2 to 8 degrees, in the so-called room temperature range of 15 to 25 degrees as well as in mixed operation with two temperature zones. “The units have lived up to expectations in all areas, they are a truly green innovation.”
While driving, the energy supply for the Mitsubishi electric cooling units is provided by a generator powered by the engine. As soon as the engine is off, a back-up battery provides the necessary power. The vehicle engine is also not needed for the necessary advance regulation of the load compartment to the correct temperature. For this purpose, the vehicle can be connected to a conventional 230-volt socket, which is also used to charge the back-up battery. Albeck: “We have installed these sockets at our loading gates, allowing us to pre-cool the vehicles electrically in summer and heat them in winter accordingly.” Another advantage of the new solution: in the event of engine failure, the battery can maintain the temperature of the vehicles for several hours. Since trans-o-flex only uses green electricity from renewable energy sources, the temperature control of these vehicles is CO2-free.
Since the Mitsubishi unit can currently only be fitted to box-type vehicles and other manufacturers now also offer electric cooling, trans-o-flex will be testing further units from other manufacturers. “Cooling is such a sensitive area for us that we only use new technology for this after thorough practical testing,” says Albeck.