Refrigeration, Trailers

Options Available to Refrigerated Freight Fleets

Options Available to Refrigerated Freight Fleets

In this series so far we have explored the challenges and options available to refrigerated freight fleets. Now we switch our focus to what zero emissions solutions we are likely to see on our roads in the next 18 months.

The first thing we can be sure of is that there will be more electric refrigerated trucks hitting the road in coming months than ever before, we are at the very beginning of the steepening curve of exponential growth. This is in both trucks on the road and models available.

As mentioned in our past articles, not all segments of the refrigerated rigid truck sector will be electrified, payload and range will restrict the largest of trucks. Twin steer chassis, which are relied on for the largest 14 pallet trucks are not set to electrify in the near term.

The action will be at the lighter end of the market, as payload requirements can typically be met and short distance urban delivery are perfect for electric vehicles.

Hydrogen powertrains still remain a little way off for this application. Much of the limited stock of the larger hydrogen trucks will go to other applications like waste, concrete and semi-trailers. As this technology finds its niche in these heavier applications, those learnings will filter into applications like refrigerated transport.

The refrigerated vehicles we will see in larger volumes will be supporting home grocery delivery and urban food delivery (cafés, restaurants etc). An example of the confidence in this end of the market is Woolworths’ order for around 130 Foton T5’s for their home delivery services across several sites.

Another popular segment that we have seen adopt EVs are eight pallet trucks delivering fresh products to stores across metro areas, typically using a Volvo FL. Expect to see several more deployments like this throughout 2024.

Several new to market EV models and brands will join our roads by the end of 2025. Refrigerated EV specialists Eurocold/Revora have been monitoring the market for over 12 months now and expect the available models to double in 2024. However, the jury is still out on their suitability.

“Not all EV rigids are built the same and some are not refrigeration ready,” says Nathan Gore-Brown, Revora GM.

“Cold freight fleet managers will need to look closely at the viability of each chassis they consider. Expect an influx of new brands you have never heard of offering compelling electric rigid trucks, its time to consider your approach to these new choices.”

The two other areas we will see action around are, charging solutions and financial packaging of refrigerated electric trucks. Charging is a sometimes-hidden challenge for a transition, often compounded by site specifics.

If you are looking to go electric, get onto your charging solution early and talk with your truck solution partner and engage with several providers before selecting a solution.

Renting or leasing your EVs might be a way to manage the risk and reduce the impact of increased capital expenditure, when compared with diesels. Operating the asset but not owning it is expected to increase rapidly in the electric trucking future.

Whatever your journey with electrification in the coming 18 months it is likely to include seeing many more refrigerated EVs on the roads, plenty of online discussion and lots of learning.

Eurocold/Revora’s aims are to show we are aligned with refrigerated transport companies and offer leadership and support to the industry in all aspects including the zero emission transition.

 

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