Tesco tests engineless fridge units

19 April 2017

Supermarket giant Tesco is conducting a trial of two engineless refrigeration units, which run entirely on the hydro-electric power generated by the trucks’ powertrains.

The units, developed by Warrington-based refrigeration specialists Carrier Transicold, are mounted on Mercedes-Benz Antos rigid box trucks and will be in service for seven days a week, transporting chilled and ambient produce to urban Tesco Express and Tesco Metro stores across southwest England and southern Wales. Each vehicle will be kept in the fleet for eight years and is expected to cover 35,000 miles a year.

The systems remove the need for a separate diesel engine as they are driven by an Eco-Drive GenSet power unit, which is powered by a hydraulic pump connected to the truck’s engine power take-off. The hydraulic pump drives a generator that delivers electrical power to the refrigeration unit and provides a continual, 100% refrigeration capacity even at the truck’s standard idle speed.

The low noise units are ideally suited to intensive urban delivery work. In addition, the slim-profile evaporator offers greater load space than a standard fridge unit.

The trial is part of the supermarket retailer’s efforts to reduce its impact on the environment. These are the first two trucks fitted with alternative refrigeration technology to join Tesco’s fleet, which includes 450 rigids, 1,300 tractor units and 4,000 trailers.

“We are delighted to be one of the first customers to trial this new type of engineless refrigeration unit offering significant environmental benefits,” said Caroline Sindrey, Engineering Manager, Tesco. “The new system offers huge potential to help us reduce our carbon footprint through lower emissions and diesel consumption as well as decreasing air and noise pollution. We also hope it will reduce maintenance and fuel costs across our fleet of vehicles in the long term.”