First trailer in Africa with Thermo King AxlePower system unveiled

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Woolworths and DP World launched the first trailer in Africa with the Thermo King AxlePower system enabling 100% electric cooling and expect to save 27 tonnes of CO2 per year.

Thermo King®, a leader in temperature control solutions for transport and a brand of Trane Technologies, today announced that logistics group DP World and food distributor Woolworths are the first in Africa to use the Thermo King AxlePower energy recovery system on the road.

To promote sustainability within the African transport sector, Thermo King’s new refrigerated trailer has been put into service on the Woolworth route between Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The AxlePower system has proven its resilience by operating efficiently in extreme conditions and providing constant cooling, with uninterrupted airflow into the trailer at ambient temperatures above 40°C.

Over a distance of 15,000 km traveled so far, the system has operated in electric mode for more than 97% of the time, without switching on the unit’s diesel engine.

The system also did not require a connection to the electricity grid to compensate for any lack of energy, nor to balance the battery charge.

Estimates indicate that the AxlePower will save up to 27 tons of CO2 annually compared to traditional refrigeration systems on diesel-powered trailers.

“This project marks an important milestone towards a more sustainable future for Africa’s transport and logistics sector,” said Ronnie Meechan, regional director, Middle East and Africa, Thermo King.

“In the fast-growing South African market, the adoption of electrification and hydrogen technologies has become increasingly prominent in the pursuit of transporters looking to reduce their fuel consumption.

Our partnership with Woolworths and DP World underlines the shared belief that by embracing technological advances and creative solutions, we can make significant progress towards reducing environmental impact and shaping a better future.”

“As part of our commitment to sustainability, we are pleased to introduce Thermo King AxlePower technology to our fleet,” said Feroz Koor, head of sustainability at Woolworths Holdings Group.

“Following the rollout of our electric online delivery vehicles last year, this initiative aligns with our Vision 2025+ target of net zero CO2 emissions by 2040 and the ambition to create a more sustainable and efficient supply chain while reducing our environmental footprint to reduce.”

“We are proud to usher in a new era of energy-efficient and environmentally conscious cooling,” said Esha Mansingh, Head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability for Sub-Saharan Africa at DP World.

“This initiative is in line with DP World’s sustainability strategy, ‘Our World, Our Future’, which ensures that we operate as a responsible company, prioritizing sustainability and the impact on people, the environment and the communities in which we operate be active towards a better, more socially just and sustainable future.

This trailer showcases transformative logistics technology that could revolutionize the way we cool goods on our roads. Thermo King AxlePower represents an important step towards sustainable and responsible logistics practices.”

Thermo King AxlePower: a revolution in trailer travel for a sustainable future

Thermo King AxlePower is the result of a collaboration between Thermo King and BPW Bergische Achsen KG, a leader in running gear and mobility services for transportation.

AxlePower is a fully integrated, tractor-independent system that combines BPW’s ePower axle with Thermo King cooling units and energy management technology.

AxlePower’s smart energy generation system provides the energy needed to run the trailer’s refrigeration unit by converting the energy recovered by the trailer’s axle during routine vehicle operation.

The system stores the energy generated while the vehicle is driving or braking in a high-voltage battery and reuses it to power the refrigeration unit, enabling fully electric, low-emission or autonomous trailer cooling.

The Thermo King Energ-e battery pack, which is charged while the trailer is in motion, also autonomously supplies the unit with power while the trailer is stationary.

With smart energy management that controls the switching on and off of the generators, AxlePower also minimizes resistance on the tractor and provides the driver and fleet manager with real-time insight into the battery charge to prevent ‘charging anxiety’.

The ability to capture and reuse energy makes the Advancer AxlePower system an ideal solution to future-proof and make all types of trailer journeys more sustainable.

With quiet operation and no CO2 Thanks to the cooling unit’s emissions when operating on the battery pack, this technology enables customers to sustainably make long-distance and inner-city deliveries, including in Ultra-low Emission Zones (ULEZs) and low-noise urban areas.

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