PBX refrigerated electric vehicles
PBX will showcase its R290-based refrigeration unit for refrigerated electric vehicles at IAA Transportation. (Source: pbx)

‘First’ R290 Refrigeration Unit for Electric Vehicles to Launch at IAA Transportation Conference

Startup pbx calls this the ‘first market-ready’ propane-based refrigeration unit for light commercial electric vehicles.

Austrian technology start-up pbx will launch its ecos M24 propane (R290)-based refrigeration unit for light commercial electric vehicles (EVs) at the IAA Transportation conference, which takes place on September 20–25 in Hanover, Germany.

It is the “first market-ready propane solution for transport refrigeration,” according to a recent statement from pbx, a provider of clean cooling, zero-emissions logistics and digital transport solutions.

The newly founded German transport refrigeration specialist ECOOLTEC Grosskopf recently released an electrically driven transport refrigeration unit for trucks, including semi-trailers and rigid vehicle bodies, that uses a small charge of hydrocarbon propene (R1270) as the primary refrigerant, together with CO2 (R744) in the secondary circuit.

‘Real’ zero-emissions refrigerated transportation

The ecos M24 is a compact, plug-and-play unit that is installed on the roof or front wall of an EV and connects directly to vehicle’s traction battery. It is suitable for vehicles up to 3.5 metric tons and contains up to 140g (0.3lbs) of R290 in each hermetically sealed unit.

By utilizing R290 as the refrigerant, as opposed to “high-GWP refrigerants currently on the market,” the unit offers “real” zero-emission temperature-controlled logistics for food and pharmaceuticals.

“Our team has achieved an immense important milestone in the transport refrigeration sector,” said Filip Kitanoski, Founder and CEO of pbx. “[A] pioneering natural refrigerant solution combined with a refrigerated electric vehicle makes the transition to zero-emission logistics of temperature-controlled goods possible.”

Following 18 months of field tests, conducted in partnership with an Austrian food producer, the benefits of the ecos M24 have been validated and the unit is now market-ready.

“[A] pioneering natural refrigerant solution combined with a refrigerated electric vehicle makes the transition to zero-emission logistics of temperature-controlled goods possible.”

Filip Kitanoski, pbx

Up to 50% lighter than the “next best-in-class system,” the ecos M24 reduces the total weight of a vehicle by up to 15%, allowing drivers to transport more goods, said pbx, adding that it can also extend a vehicle’s driving range by up to 25%. According to pbx, this can save fleet operators more than €60,000 (US$59,800) for every 10 vehicles.

The unit is easy to install, requiring “no refrigeration knowledge,” and is designed to require “zero maintenance” to maximize vehicle availability, said pbx.

pbx’s digital services complement the use of the ecos M24 by providing operational insights that enable fleet operators to optimize the use of their vehicles, the company said.

According to the company, the ecos M24 is a “paradigm shift in temperature-sensitive goods transportation, enabling zero emission, operational excellence, reliability and cost efficiency.”

The unit will make the “transition to refrigerated [EVs] economically feasible with the next one or two years,” pbx added.

IAA Transportation conference attendees are invited to “experience the future of transport refrigeration” at pbx’s booth C2013 in hall 13 of the Deutsche Messe exhibition center.

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