The All-Electric Vehicle: Beyond the Engine

As the price of lithium ion batteries continues its rapid fall, demand has solidified for electric trucks — and this year we will see these vehicles hitting the pavement in a very big way.

According to recent industry reports, 2019 will be a watershed year for the sector. Kenworth, Toyota, and Tesla have all recently shared announcements about their electric fleets coming to market.

But what about the rest of the vehicle? For refrigerated fleets, it seems neither sensible nor desirable for a company that decides to eliminate diesel-fueled engines to maintain the de facto diesel-fueled refrigeration system.

There is a great need, then, for a true “all-electric” vehicle — a system that goes beyond the engine to deliver a comprehensive zero-diesel, zero-emission experience without sacrificing reliability or relying on exorbitant pricing.

Companies want to see more innovation, more efficiency, and enhanced performance from their fleets. And Great Dane is ready to deliver.

Innovation Leads the Way

Great Dane’s patented forced-air, zero-emission refrigeration system, the Johnson AE Series, is a competitive and compelling alternative to traditional diesel-powered refrigeration systems. It utilizes cold plate technology and battery power to provide consistent BTU capacity for most refrigerated applications, all without the need to burn diesel to refrigerate.

Another benefit of this system is that the unit runs completely independent of the chassis power. For trucks that are equipped with alternative fuels like gas or electric power, the Johnson AE system will not tax any of the chassis power.

This system also tackles the two main obstacles involved with transitioning from new technologies to diesel systems: inflated upfront costs and compromised performance. It provides refrigerated distributors with a reliable alternative to help meet changing cold chain demands efficiently and at a low operating cost.

According to Great Dane’s Director of Truck Body Sales Mayo Rude, “Zero-emissions, comparable pricing and eliminating the need for regular diesel refueling is a really big win for the end user.”

New Business Model to Better Serve Customers

Rather than negotiating and managing contracts with multiple companies, Great Dane offers its customers a streamlined, single-source solution for their refrigeration needs. The Johnson AE Series refrigeration system is built directly into the truck body, helping customers reduce transaction costs and overhead, while cutting out unnecessary third-party suppliers.

In addition to streamlining these processes, all-electric refrigeration helps fleets save precious time and money by eliminating the need to refuel refrigeration units with diesel. This is especially beneficial in the food service industry where time is of the essence. Great Dane’s all-electric refrigeration systems help ensure accurate, reliable temperatures so shipments are completed with optimal freshness.

The All-Electric Future is Here

The Johnson AE Series is offered throughout the entire lineup of Great Dane’s Johnson Series refrigerated truck bodies – from the maximum payload powerhouse C-Series to the thermally-efficient R-Series and the compact, temperature-controlled S-Series.

As interest in electrification grows, Great Dane is also working with industry partners to offer even greater all-electric solutions. For instance, the company recently partnered with eNow Inc, Emerson and Challenge Dairy Products Inc. to develop and deploy a new refrigeration system that uses two forms of energy storage: cold plates and a unique, lightweight, high-capacity auxiliary battery system. The batteries are initially charged from utility power delivered to the vehicle when it is plugged in at its home base overnight. Roof-mounted solar photovoltaic panels provide additional power when the unit truck is in operation. The auxiliary battery is charged exclusively by solar and utility power – no diesel power necessary.

Great Dane and its partners are working to build upon this system and continuing to innovate new electrification solutions. Learn more about Great Dane’s offerings here and reach out to learn more about how to upgrade your fleet.