Volta Air, a Discover Battery customer, has developed an all electric refrigeration system for last mile delivery trucks to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Their system is made of their proprietary refrigeration unit, a Delta-Q battery charger and Discover AES LiFePO4 24V batteries. Their system is also available with optional solar panels that mount to the roof of the vehicle to help extend the runtime of the batteries.
Conventional refrigeration systems rely on fossil fuel and running the vehicle's engine to power the cooling system. This means when the vehicle is stopped, engines need to continue to idle in order for the refrigeration to continue to cool the goods in the truck. With anti-idling laws being introduced in more and more cities, keeping food cold is becoming a growing challenge for delivery fleet managers.
The Greater Vancouver Food Bank is one of the early adopters of this new technology and has begun using it in two of their vehicles: a 16’ box truck and a Sprinter Van. Their application uses five AES LiFePO4 batteries that allow the refrigeration system to run for 10 - 12 hours per day before they return home to recharge the batteries through a shore power connection overnight. The Greater Vancouver Food Bank has also opted for optional, roof-mounted solar panels to increase their run-time while out making deliveries. The addition of solar panels provide up to two hours of additional run-time depending on environmental conditions.
Volta Air estimates that upgrading to an all electric system in refrigerator truck is equivalent to taking 3 passenger cars off the road. Fuel savings for the Vancouver Food Bank are estimated to top $10,000 annually. This system is extremely low maintenance and long running which reduces the wear and tear on the vehicles engine, helping to reduce maintenance costs. Based on these estimates, the system should pay for itself in 2 - 5 years based on daily usage factors. These estimates are based on their trucks running an average of 8 hours a day 5 days per week with diesel costs at $1.40/L.
Discover AES LiFePO4 batteries make this whole system possible because of their ability to charge up to 5 times faster than traditional lead-acid batteries. The integrated high-current Battery Management Systems (BMS) allows for a high-output charging that optimizes for the fastest charge possible given the system's conditions. The batteries allow for high power transfer and high-surge needed for the demands of the reefer unit.
Each battery in this system can provide individual data logs to allow for analysis of the battery's performance. With the addition of a Discover LYNK Communications Gateway (not included in this system), active communication with a solar charge controller is enabled through the closed-loop CANBUS network. This also helps optimize the charge rate which can provide up to 25% faster charging through optional solar panels.
For fleet managers, the utilization of the Discover AES LiFePO4 batteries allows for the ability to scale these types of systems using any of the 12V, 24V, 36V and 48V models to be able to customize the power needs based on their individual system requirements.
Discover Battery has distribution centres in major cities in North America to provide sales and support to fleet customers. Our sales team can help consult fleet owners to size this type of system for their application and calculate their return on investment.