Last month saw Thermo King stake a claim for producing the world’s most advanced refrigerated trailer, the pragmatically named, Advancer.

The Trane Technologies owner said its three different versions, the A-360, A-400, and A-500, and offers an all-new design architecture that creates a bold new standard for performance, temperature control, and fleet connectivity.

“At Thermo King, we understand that with being a leader comes the responsibility to advance the technology and capability for refrigerated transport. Since we started the industry over 80 years ago, we have been innovating to meet and exceed customer needs, improve efficiency and reduce the environmental footprint of our products,” said Francesco Incalza, president of Thermo King Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Today, Advancer adds another milestone to our history. By introducing this completely redesigned trailer platform, we are challenging what is possible in our industry. This is our vision for the future of trailer refrigeration, and this future is now here for our customers.”

During development the company drew up a list of hundreds of features and claims that the finished product moves trailer technology beyond incremental enhancements. It also claims it can pay back a fleet’s investment within two years with fuel savings up to 30% and going far beyond current expectations on uptime.

Senior product manager David O’Gorman says Thermo King went back to the drawing board to ask itself what does the future look like?

“I feel like a kid in a sweet shop,” he says during the launch.

O’Gorman explains that Advancer is the first-ever refrigeration unit with a fully variable air flow that is independent of the engine speed.

“I can almost hear you saying ‘what on earth does that mean’? Fully variable air flow means the highest airflow on the market, the fastest pull down in the market, the most precise temperature control in the market, and last but not least the lowest fuel consumption in the and if that wasn’t enough now, you can both see and measure your fuel consumption. How cool is that?”

Advancer uses a 48V DC mild hybrid technology brought over from other parts of the automotive industry, and O’Gorman claims the adoption of the system, means they can harness the power from a low-voltage motor generator as required.

“We only deliver that power where and when it is needed,” he adds, before explaining the entire unit has been designed to reflect the maximising of up time that fleets need to stay profitable.

“We had a list of over 700 requirements and that was the short list. 700! Can you imagine how many were on the full list?” He asks, then adds: “One single day off the road can result in significant operational issues, financial loss or disappointed customers. As a result, Advancer has a modular future-proof architecture, fewer components, less moving components, easier access to serviceable items. It has onboard intelligence to predict service needs and integrated solar power to keep you charged. I could go on for another hour at least but I don’t want to put you to sleep!”

Thermo King is confident it can replicate the data coming out of its test labs and trials, including in excess of a million kilometers of running in places as far flung as the Australian Outback, Russia and the deserts of the Middle East and North Africa.

“We have tens of thousands of running hours in both diesel and electric mode without any failure so far,” he explains. “The bottom line is that this unit was designed to keep you on the road because that’s what matters. We predict a 60% reduction in unscheduled maintenance (that’s 6-0, he affirms). That number wasn’t just pulled from the ether, we have the proof. As a measure of the success, we’ve already received orders from some of the field trial customers and they don’t even want to give us back the field test units. In a nutshell, we’ve had overwhelmingly positive feedback.”

Trane Technologies committed to reducing the carbon footprint of its customers by 1 Gigatonne by 2030 by encouraging use of its products and services. The team at its vehicle air-conditioning subsidiary under no doubt when it comes to the task ahead.

“One gigaton is very big and it represents the annual CO2 emissions of Italy France and UK combined it,” says Laurent Debias, product management and marketing leader, Thermo King EMEA. “It shows our ambitions to make this a better world for all of us and for the coming generation.”

Look out for the full interview in the next issue of Truck & Fleet Middle East magazine