In times of rapidly rising fuel prices, sustainable drive types, above all electric drive, are rapidly gaining in importance. Willstätt-based vehicle supplier TBV Ltd foresaw the need for sustainable cooling solutions early on and reacted accordingly, says Managing Director Rainer Fuchs in an interview.
"Initially, it was in line with the self-image of organic suppliers that their sales strategy is only coherent if the transport of the products to the customers is also environmentally friendly. That's why they were among the first to look for environmentally friendly and CO2-saving logistics solutions back in the days when there was not yet a wide range of e-transporters and e-trucks. CNG-powered vehicles and refrigeration units that did not consume diesel were tested," Fuchs says, looking back.
A TBV refrigerated vehicle from Walliser Obst & Gemüse
TBV Kühlfahrzeuge had been making corresponding offers to this market segment since 2016 for electrically powered refrigeration units for vehicles that were still conventionally powered at the time. Fuchs: "We can now also offer this know-how for the increasingly widespread e-transporters and e-trucks. Several e-transporters and 7.5t e-distribution trucks based on Fuso eCanter are operational, with electric cooling systems. Currently, we are equipping a 26t Renault e-truck with this technology."
Space-saving battery management
For panel vans, such as the eVito, they are now offering an electric cooling system that maintains a temperature range of +2 to +7 degrees over a period of 3-6 hours. "The self-sufficient system is powered by its own Lithum battery, which is usually placed in the passenger compartment, in a protected location. This means the battery management and technical components are installed in a space-saving manner," Fuchs adds. "The development of more powerful batteries and the increase in battery capacities that have recently become available even allow for deep-freeze temperatures."
The same technology is basically used for refrigerated cargo boxes on e-transporters and trucks, according to Fuchs. The batteries are mounted underneath the cargo bed. "Boxes up to a length of 8000mm can now be kept at service temperatures systems without any problems, using electric refrigeration. In addition, there is the option to extend the cooling time or capacity with photovoltaic panels installed on the roof. These are mounted on the roof, complementing the self-sufficient cooling operation."
Manageable use in the fruit and vegetables sector
Especially for use in the fruit and vegetable transport sector, TBV offers air deflectors in the superstructure under the roof, so that the cold air from the evaporator is not directed onto the transported goods, but is first directed to the rear under the roof. Thus, a more even distribution of the cooled air is achieved. According to Fuchs, demand for e-vehicles in the fruit and vegetable sector is growing from a small base. "This is, of course, initially due to the still small number of available e-trucks, but certainly also due to the acquisition costs, which can, however, be put into perspective by subsidy measures. Not so essential seems to be the range, which is usually sufficient for distribution."
Driving the development of sustainable logistics solutions
TBV will continue to devote itself primarily to the development of sustainable logistics solutions in the coming years, Fuchs reveals in conclusion. "The first orders for refrigerated bodies with electric cooling systems for trucks powered by fuel cells have already been received. And we are confident that we will be able to push this development further."