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All-electric autonomous refrigerated trailer comes to the UK

UK: Carrier Transicold is collaborating with temperature-controlled vehicle specialist Gray & Adams in a demonstrator programme for its Vector eCool fully autonomous, all-electric engineless refrigerated trailer system.

Announced last year, the Vector eCool has been fitted to a new 13.6m demonstrator trailer and is now on the road showcasing the cutting-edge technology to Carrier Transicold customers.

Utilising a new energy recovery and storage system, the Vector eCool converts kinetic energy generated by the trailer axle and brakes into electricity, that is then stored in a battery pack powering the refrigeration unit. This loop creates a fully autonomous system that produces no direct carbon dioxide or particulate emissions.

“The Vector eCool reaffirms our commitment to reducing emissions, improving sustainability and increasing efficiency across the refrigerated transport sector,” commented Carrier Transicold’s UK and Northern Europe MD Scott Dargan. 

The autonomous power developed by the trailer and the subsequent emissions reductions have attracted interest from the UK’s Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership (LowCVP), a public-private partnership that exists to accelerate a sustainable shift to lower carbon, cleaner vehicles and fuels.

“As part of the road to net zero, we must take into consideration emissions generated by transport refrigeration units and other ancillary power, and our testing already includes these aspects,” said Andy Eastlake, MD of LowCVP. 

“Innovation such as this from Carrier Transicold is demonstrating what needs to be done to future-proof its products; the Vector eCool is a practical, workable solution that ticks all of the boxes of electrification and decarbonisation and we are excited to see it take to the road in 2021.”


Carrier Transicold has been working closely with Gray & Adams on the design of the demonstrator to maximise the environmental benefits of the system. Even with the axle generator and battery pack, it is said to be lighter than a standard diesel unit with a full tank of fuel. The tri-axle trailer also features aerodynamic cappings to reduce drag, while bespoke sideguards allow access to the battery system and protect cyclists and other vulnerable road users.

“We have a special relationship with Carrier; working so closely with them to bring the Vector eCool to the UK has been really exciting,” said Gray & Adams joint MD Peter Gray. “Our design teams have seamlessly integrated the axle, braking and battery systems that make up the eCool into a trailer that has the potential to completely change the face of refrigerated transport.”

Suitable for operation with the engineless versions of Carrier Transicold’s Vector HE 19 and Vector 1550 E, the Vector eCool utilises the company’s E-Drive all-electric technology to the fullest. Carrier Transicold claims that while traditional belt-driven systems suffer a loss of up to 40% of its kW cooling power when converting electrical energy into their required mechanical drive, the E-Drive ensures the eCool has consistent, efficient cooling power and pull-down speeds whether operating on battery power or when plugged into the mains grid.

Related stories:

Vector eCool is first autonomous electric refrigerated trailer 7 October 2020
FRANCE: Carrier Transicold has launched what it describes as the future of refrigerated trailer technology with a fully autonomous, all-electric engineless refrigerated trailer system. Read more…

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