Supplied and installed by Marshall Fleet Solutions, the system uses both Frigoblock and Thermo King equipment. The UT-Series Hybrid Spectrum unit builds on the Thermo King SLXi Hybrid trailer systems, with a Frigoblock alternator and inverter-drive technology enabling the Thermo King unit to switch between diesel and electric mode, as necessary.
“We have been using Frigoblock electric units in our fleet for over 15 years and we’ve been waiting for a solution that would combine both the Frigoblock and Thermo King technologies in a rigid truck refrigeration system,” said Martin Jones, director of transport operations, Castell Howell Foods.
Since May, Castell Howell has conducted in-service testing of the TK hybrid system, running the truck six days a week on mixed routes, combining motorway and city centre routes, with upwards of 30 deliveries a day.
“With the hybrid mode always on, we experience fuel savings reaching approximately 20 litres of fuel each day, six days a week,” he says.
“It’s a significant mark in the truck’s operational bottom line and we were really pleased to see how the Thermo King system combines the best of both alternator-driven electric and diesel technologies, and how it works out in the field.”
The hybrid technology is easy to use: drivers simply set the vehicle when leaving the depot, and the system will switch between electric and diesel modes during the day depending on the unit’s requirements.
Jones adds: “The versatility and fuel efficiency of a unit running on the power of the truck where it can, with back-up of a conventional diesel on certain routes with long stops or intense drop counts, will definitely increase the flexibility of our operations.”