April 11, 2019

Electrifying our World, our Future

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Electrifying our World, our Future

by Francesco Incalza

Francesco Incalza is vice president of product management and marketing for Thermo King North America and EMEA, a division of Ingersoll Rand. He leads the product growth teams responsible for developing the innovative transport solution products that meet customer and market requirements while delivering sustainable and environmentally responsible solutions to a global marketplace.

For most baby boomers and Gen Xers, electric transportation was something portrayed in our childhood cartoons on Saturday mornings and a concept that only became real in our imaginary play. Those were the days we used cardboard boxes, our Huffy bikes or whatever else we could find to create our own flying cars and pretend to be living in the future.

Fast forward 50+ years and those imaginary concepts are not so far off. In fact, Gen Y, Gen Z and Millennials, all of whom have grown up with 24-hour television, electronics and mobile devices that previous generations could not comprehend (envision your grandparents seeing the Fortnite craze!), have seen the advancements first-hand. This is their reality. In other words, the future is here.

We are already seeing it in the automotive industry – think Tesla and small urban transport vehicles. While these are all the rage, the drive to an electrified world is about much more than just the excitement and challenge of advancing technology and capability. It is a global trend across multiple industries for a very big reason – the sustainability of our planet.

We are seeing the affects that diesel emissions and greenhouse gases are having on our environment and our health. The growing world population – projected at 11 billion+ by 2050, nearly 70 percent of whom will be in urban areas, is creating new challenges with noise and emission pollution. For Thermo King, adapting technologies to combat these real concerns goes beyond the growing governmental regulations around the globe. It is about doing what is right to improve the quality of life.

Founded on that premise more than 80 years ago, our company uses innovation to make this world a better place. We started by creating an industry that would bring perishable products safely and at proper temperature to people around the world – primarily for nutrition and medicinal needs. Through the years, we have adapted our technology to meet efficiency, environmental and customer requirements while pushing the envelope to remain a responsible innovation leader.

I am proud to be part of this company, which is now paving the way to an electrified product line.  

Globally, we already have the largest range of zero or low-emission solutions available -- in all segments of the market. This includes both hybrid (electric and diesel) and all-electric in transport refrigerated trailer and truck units, auxiliary power units, bus and commuter rail HVAC units, and marine and rail refrigerated units. It also includes solar products and power management accessories that assist with these low-emission capabilities.

We have committed to the product innovation. We have committed to a gender- and diversity-rich world-class talent. And we have committed to an ongoing partnership with our global network of independent dealers, as well as our customers, to ensure that our solutions are fiscally responsible, meet everyone’s needs and transition into the marketplace smoothly – staying ahead of regulation, controlling total cost of ownership and residual values while increasing operational efficiencies.

With a rapid market adoption of electrical architecture expected between 2020 and 2025, we will be ready. By that time, 65 percent of our portfolio will include hybrid or fully electric versions, and by 2030, we will reach nearly 90 percent.

At the end of the day, we are all in this world to make it a better place. If we want a sustainable future and a better quality of life for future generations, we must continue working together to ensure it. The move to electrified products is a key step in the efforts and will continue to be a strategy for Thermo King, our parent company Ingersoll Rand, and countless other responsible companies who have made their own sustainability commitments.

The future is indeed now. And on Earth Day 2019, there was no better time to celebrate and embrace our dedication to truly making this world a better place for all.