The roof-mounted, 12V NEOS unit is supplied pre-charged from the factory with less than 1kg of R134a refrigerant. This has a significantly lower global warming potential (GWP) than the other two refrigerants most often used in refrigerated transport.
Key to Petit Forestier’s decision was the all-electric architecture of the refrigeration unit. NEOS runs on power from the vehicle’s alternator but, as the new electric Kangoo vans do not use an alternator, the units are powered by an autonomous lithium-ion power source, supplied by Perpetual V2G Systems.
“Using a standalone power source for the NEOS units provides up to seven hours of cooling power – depending on the use and application of the vehicle – and a range of around 110 miles,” says Pat Skelly, managing director of Petit Forestier.
“If we were relying on the vehicle batteries to drive both the van and the fridge, the range plummets to just 60 miles – which wouldn’t be sufficient for many applications.”
Perpetual’s batteries have a separate charging point, and are small and light so can be incorporated in the vehicle with minimal impact.
Petit Forestier is using one of the five vehicles as a demonstrator; the other four will go on longer term trials with key customers. Originally planned as a solution for London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ), Petit Forestier is reporting interest from customers in Bristol and Oxford.
Petit Forestier plans to add to the first five electric vans over the coming months, with a larger 3.5-tonne electric vehicle and an 18-tonner expected later this year.
“We want to be at the forefront of more eco-aware refrigerated transport,” Skelly says.
“Carrier Transicold and Perpetual’s support in making this project a reality has been tremendous. They understand the challenges and want to help us make a real impact.”