Thermo King AxlePower Electrifies Woolworths’ Refrigerated Trailer in South Africa

Date: 04 June 2024
Thermo King AxlePower Electrifies Woolworths’ Refrigerated Trailer in South Africa
Thermo King announced that DP World logistic group and food retailer Woolworths are the first in Africa to operate the Thermo King AxlePower energy recovery system on the road. Advancing sustainability within the African transport sector, the new Thermo King refrigerated trailer has commenced operations on Woolworth's route between Johannesburg and Cape Town. 

The AxlePower system has proved its resilience by operating efficiently in extreme conditions, providing constant cooling, with uninterrupted airflow inside the trailer in ambient temperatures exceeding 40°C. Over a distance of 15,000 km covered so far, the system has operated in electric mode, without engaging the unit’s diesel engine, for more than 97% of the time. The system also required no connection to the grid to compensate for any lack of energy nor to balance the battery charge. Estimations indicate that the AxlePower will annually save up to 27 tonnes of CO2 compared to traditional diesel-powered trailer refrigeration systems. 

“This projects 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 at Thermo King. “In the rapidly 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 collaboration with Woolworths and DP World underscores the shared belief that by embracing technological advancements and creative solutions, we can make significant strides towards reducing environmental impact and shaping a better tomorrow.”

Thermo King AxlePower

Thermo King AxlePower is a result of a collaboration between Thermo King and BPW Bergische Achsen KG. AxlePower is a fully integrated, tractor independent system that combines BPW’s ePower axle with Thermo King refrigeration unit and power management technology. The AxlePower’s smart energy generating system delivers the power needed to run the trailer refrigeration unit by converting energy recovered by the trailer’s axle during the vehicle’s routine operation. 

The system stores the energy generated while the vehicle is rolling or braking in a high voltage battery and reuses it to power the refrigeration unit – enabling fully electric, low or zero-emission and autonomous trailer refrigeration. The Thermo King Energ-e battery pack, being charged while the trailer is moving also powers the unit autonomously while the trailer is stopped. Featuring smart power management that controls the engagement and disengagement of the generators, AxlePower also minimises the resistance on the tractor and provides the driver and fleet manager with real-time battery charge visibility to avoid ‘charge anxiety’. 

The possibility to capture and reuse energy makes the Advancer AxlePower system an ideal solution to future-proof and increase the sustainability of all types of trailer journeys. With silent running and no CO2 emissions from the refrigeration unit when operating from the battery-pack, this technology allows customers to sustainably run long-haul and inner-city deliveries, including in Ultra-low Emission Zones (ULEZs) and low noise urban areas. 
Find out more on our website about: refrigeration, refrigeration unit, Thermo King, refrigerated trailer, CO2

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