Thermo King’s innovative AxlePower system has completed extensive trials, showcasing significant developments in electric, low-emission, and autonomous refrigeration for trailers.

Thermo King AxlePower

Source: Thermo King

Thermo King, a leader in transport temperature control solutions, has released the results of its AxlePower system trials. Developed as a result of a collaboration between Thermo King and BPW, the trials commenced in the fourth quarter of 2022, extensively testing the AxlePower system across Europe. 

Available now and in serial production, Thermo King 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’.

Key Highlights from the Trials:

  • Energy Autonomy: The AxlePower system harnessed energy from the BPW ePower axle, enabling refrigeration units to function autonomously. Reports from the trials revealed up to 20 consecutive weeks of electric refrigeration without diesel engine restarts or connection to shore power, transforming local distribution refrigeration.
  • Trailer Flexibility: The system facilitated full-day electric operation for refrigeration units in long-haul routes, supporting 40% to 80% electric operation at night, contingent on the Energ-e battery pack configuration. The modular design of the Energ-e Pack allows easy upgrades for consistent performance in demanding routes.
  • Minimal Impact on Tractor Fuel Consumption: AxlePower’s smart power management system had a negligible impact on tractor fuel consumption, operating electrically from energy recovery while optimising the tractor’s efficiency.
  • Seamless Integration and Enhanced Driver Experience: The system seamlessly integrated into trailers and tractors, ensuring unaffected driving behaviors. The simplified operation and reduced noise enhanced the driving experience for operators.
  • Streamlined Monitoring: Fleet managers benefited from the unified Thermo King TracKing portal, enabling seamless communication and monitoring of system components.
  • Thermo King AxlePower is available for production and integrates BPW’s ePower axle with Thermo King refrigeration units, enabling electric, low-emission, and autonomous trailer refrigeration. The system ensures silent and sustainable long-haul and inner-city deliveries.