April 5, 2019

Driving Innovation: 100% Electric. 100% Cool.


Thermo King partners with vehicle manufacturer to develop and introduce all-electric, refrigerated van in North America.

The road to an electrified portfolio is strategically and methodically being paved by Thermo King, one project at a time.  And on March 27, employees, dealers and industry partners were invited to Minneapolis to get a glimpse of a very exciting new project – an all-electric, refrigerated van that will yield real-time data analytics as well as customer and dealer feedback to broaden our real-world learnings.

The 100 percent electric van was manufactured by Chanje (pronounced "change") and is equipped with a Thermo King refrigeration unit and solar panels. The vehicle will be deployed to refrigerated fleet customers who will incorporate the vehicle into their current operations for a series of rapid experiments, which will garner valuable data that can be used to progress the electrification of our portfolio.

"Our work with Chanje is one of several examples of how we are strategically focusing our investments and partnerships to evolve technology that will innovate our products to deliver the right solutions, at the right time, for our global customer base," said Dane Taival, vice president and general manager, Transport Solutions North America.

Real World Learnings

The Chanje project is the first in a series of rapid experiments that will allow us to gain critical information about the electrification of our portfolio. By developing all-electric, refrigerated vehicles in partnership with vehicle original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), obtaining data analytics from the vehicles and receiving feedback and insights from customers and dealers, we can learn more about how our products work with electric vehicles, and use our learnings to deliver the best for our customers.

"Rapid experiments are important because they allow us to validate our technical and commercial hypotheses more quickly.  It is truly an agile approach to supporting future product development and innovation," says Tracey Patterson, OEM relationship manager at Thermo King.

Benefits of Rapid Experiments

Gain Critical Customer and Dealer Feedback on:

  • Current operational profile (i.e.; route planning adjustments and pre-cooling procedures)
  • Training requirements for service and maintenance staff (i.e.; High voltage and driver education)
  • Required diagnostic tools
  • Charging and shore power operations
  • Infrastructure requirements
  • Energy costs
  • Opportunities to support customers in the adoption of emerging technologies

Improve New Product Development Process by Better Understanding:

  • Power requirements from refrigeration unit
  • Refrigeration impact on vehicle range
  • Requirements for power electronic components
  • Power electronic component installation and integration
  • Connectivity to vehicle controls
  • High-power battery technology and how to manage safely

Journey to Electrification

Electrification is not new to Thermo King – we are the leader in electrification in the transport climate control industry, with the largest range of zero or low-emissions solutions in all segments of the market. From improving the efficiencies and environmental footprint of our diesel-powered products, to introducing electric stand-by options and developing hybrid and full-electric options that are combatting exhaust, carbon dioxide and noise pollutions, Thermo King has proven to be an innovator of solutions, and this new series of rapid experiments is the next step in that direction.

The key drivers of electrification at Thermo King are Ingersoll Rand's climate commitments, environmental regulation, noise regulation and the sustainability goals of our customers – and our dealers are on board as well.

"Our customers want to go green; they have been asking for alternative options," said Tom Commaroto, general manager at Thermo King East, our dealer in New Jersey. "I think it's important that we show that this is where we're headed, because we don't want the competition walking in there. It's important to be the first – and the best as well.

What's Next?

Thermo King is working with several other vehicle manufacturers to develop and kick off similar projects. In the meantime, the Chanje vehicle is headed to the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) trade show in Long Beach from April 23-26, before it will be deployed to refrigerated fleet customers and begin making deliveries and collecting data.

Test Drive for a Cause

In addition to vehicle tours, Thermo King offered test drives of the new Chanje all-electric van to all who attended the unveiling event. In return they collected good will donations of money or canned goods that would benefit the We Move Food program and local partner VEAP, whose mission is to provide access to healthy foods to those in need.