Solutrans 2021: Thermo King AxlePower with BPW’s ePower Axle – New technology for zero direct emissions trailer refrigeration


Thermo King®, a leader in transport temperature control solutions and a brand of Trane Technologies, in partnership with BPW, a leader in running gears and mobility services for transport businesses, revealed new AxlePower technology at the Solutrans exhibition in Lyon, France.

The AxlePower technology with BPW’s ePower axle is a highly innovative energy recovery system for trailer refrigeration units, which delivers immediate and long-term sustainability benefits while also helping cut day-to-day operating costs.

Francesco Incalza, president of Thermo King in Europe, Middle East and Africa: “Sustainability is undoubtfully front and centre for the transport industry. For decades, Thermo King has considered it our responsibility to advance transport refrigeration, designing and manufacturing products for our customers that reflect our environmental awareness and answer ever-new challenges. Thermo King was the first to offer true hybrid and non-diesel truck and trailer refrigeration solutions. Today, combining our expertise, research and development with BPW, we’re introducing new technology that turns the energy typically lost by a trailer during transit into clean, sustainable power for trailer refrigeration units.”

Thore Bakker General Manager Trailer Solutions & Mobility Services at BPW: “We are proud to present a climate-efficient solution for refrigerated transport that implements our strategy of system and mobility partnership just perfectly: Vehicle operators can rely on operational safety, mobility and service around the clock with the European service networks of Thermo King and BPW. Additional benefit is that the customised cooling solutions fit seamlessly in vehicle manufacturers processes. Whether air suspension, spring centres, wheel ends or interfaces – nothing changes, nothing has to be redesigned. In this way, we are making a joint contribution to the breakthrough of emission-free refrigerated transport.”

Across global cold chains, trailer vehicles routinely dissipate energy due to constant braking and deaccelerating in traffic and in downhill routes. At the same time, transport companies are seeking the most sustainable energy sources, both in terms of CO2 emissions and noise, to power their refrigerated trailers. The new AxlePower technology results from a partnership of two technology leaders for freight transport solutions that combined their competences to answer these needs and deliver a solution, which will drastically reduce the environmental impact of refrigerated trailers.

The AxlePower technology is a fully integrated system that combines Thermo King hybrid or fully electric trailer refrigeration units, BPW’s ePower axle energy recovery system, and battery storage technologies developed to create an efficient, autonomously powered trailer refrigeration solution. The system stores the energy generated while the vehicle is rolling or braking in a high voltage battery and reuses it to power the refrigeration unit and keep the cargo at optimal temperature.

The AxlePower system is tractor-independent, which makes it easy to deploy across the customer’s fleet. The technology also offers immediate compatibility with all Thermo King and Frigoblock trailer refrigeration units.

The ideal option for sustainable operations

The possibility to recover and reuse energy makes the AxlePower system an ideal solution to increase the sustainability of all types of trailer journeys. With silent running and no CO2 emissions when operating from the battery-pack, this technology allows customers to easily run inner-city deliveries, including in Ultra-low Emission Zones (ULEZs).

Laurent Debias, Thermo King: “The AxlePower technology represents a significant advancement in both operational flexibility and long-term sustainability of refrigerated trailer fleets. Enabling this form of electric power supply recovering energy that would typically be lost, allows for significant emissions and cost gains during every single journey. This is especially important in a price competitive industry like commercial transport.”
Providing electric solutions for refrigerated transportation is part of Thermo King’s and Trane Technologies’ overall approach to reducing carbon emissions in the industries and markets it serves. It helps advance the 2030 Sustainability Commitments, including the Gigaton Challenge to reduce customer greenhouse gas emissions by 1 billion metric tons.