Brakes Trials New Zero-Emission Trucks with Frigoblock Electric Refrigeration

Frigoblock, one of the leading manufacturers of transport refrigeration units in Europe and brand of Thermo King, says that Brakes, the UK’s leading foodservice provider and a Sysco company, has started deliveries with two temperature-controlled electric 19-tonne Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) featuring Frigoblock EK25 and FK2 refrigeration units.

The Electra truck with EK25 unit has been serving customers in the Midlands since late 2022, while the electric DAF LF truck featuring the Frigoblock FK2 unit started operations from Brake’s Reading depot near London in January 2023.

“It is uplifting to enable our customers like Brakes to lead the way in decarbonising, electrifying and minimising the environmental impact of transport and delivery operations,” said Jon Jerrard-Dinn, area sales manager at Thermo King and Frigoblock.“The technology exists today, and we are working hard to help the industry recognise the benefits and ease of electrifying their refrigerated vehicles to move goods in the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way. We’re excited that together with Brakes and Sysco we can demonstrate this innovation in real life.”

“Our vehicles in the UK cover almost 60 million miles a year making our fleet’s transformation to zero-emissions a central element in achieving our company’s ambitious decarbonisation targets and helping our customers with theirs,” said Paul Vernon, head of fleet for Sysco GB.“Frigoblock and Thermo King have been our partners for years and we counted on their expertise in finding the right electric transport refrigeration for our new zero-emission vehicles.”

The project continues successful, over 15 years long collaboration, between Brakes and Frigoblock and Thermo King.  It has been essential for Brakes’ primary fleet and its multi-drop operation that the refrigeration units maintain the cold chain working in conjunction with the vehicle and have zero direct exhaust emissions. The Frigoblock EK25 has proven itself to be able to meet these challenges. Coupled with the inverter Enviro Drive technology, the unit provides maximum efficiency and minimal impact to the vehicle’s fuel or power consumption. These capabilities made the Frigoblock EK25 as the primary refrigeration technology Brakes considered for their new BEVs.

“We have been operating Frigoblock’s electric EK25 refrigeration systems in our fleet for years. Their performance and reliability are exceptional, coupled with low total cost of ownership on account of little maintenance requirements and quick return on investment. We were delighted to find out they can seamlessly work with our new electric HGV,” said Paul Vernon.

The new Electra 19-tonne electric rigid truck has been operating in the Midlands since August 2022 and its performance has been evaluated by Brakes day-by-day. The trials proved that the performance in terms of temperature recovery by the Frigoblock EK25 has been even better than when refrigerating a traditional, diesel-powered vehicle.

“With this electric vehicle, we could go into the city centre like Birmingham, and as soon as the driver closed the door, the Frigoblock unit brought the temperature in the load compartment back to the set temperature, even before the vehicle moved on. This is extraordinary and keeps our products ideally maintained,” said Paul Vernon.

Integrated telematics

The second electric vehicle, the DAF LF truck is equipped with the next generation Frigoblock FK2 unit featuring new design and integrated telematics thanks to the Thermo King BlueBox. The connectivity provides the fleet operator with full, 24/7 visibility of the unit’s operation, remote monitoring, and proactive control, allowing Brakes to track their unit’s operation at any time, and clearly demonstrate the temperature set points across every journey.

The Brakes electric DAF vehicle operates since January 2023 from the company’s site in Reading known for its solar panel system installation. The system provides the location with its own source of renewable energy and emission-free power for the depot’s vehicle charging stations. Both new Brakes vehicles support Sysco’s ambitious climate goal to reduce emissions across its global operations and the company’s entire value chain.

“We are thrilled that Sysco is pioneering and clearing the path for the electrification of transport in the UK with Frigoblock and Thermo King,” said Jon Jerrard-Dinn. “We see customer use of our products as our largest area of opportunity to reduce carbon emissions. This collaboration aligns with Thermo King’s and Trane Technologies’ bold Gigaton Challenge commitment to reduce one billion metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) from our customer’s carbon footprints by 2030.”