Range, Thermo King Team Up on Electric Reefer Trailer Pilots

A Range Energy booth at an industry show. In pilot projects starting in the second half of 2024, Range trailers will be tested with various hybrid trailer refrigeration units and electric TRUs. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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Range Energy is teaming up with Thermo King to investigate the possibilities for electric refrigerated trailers, the companies said May 9.

Mountain View, Calif.-based startup Range’s trailers are intended to reduce diesel consumption through an e-axle, battery pack and smart kingpin.

In pilot projects starting in the second half of this year and continuing into 2025, Range trailers will be tested with various hybrid trailer refrigeration units and electric TRUs, evaluating the combinations possible, the companies said.

Paul Kroes, trailer innovation leader at Thermo King Americas, told Transport Topics the testing will involve several single-temperature and multitemp configurations that will utilize the Trane Technologies unit’s latest TRUs on Range’s trailers.

Testing will be carried out with a variety of customers and applications that range from grocery and food service to regional and linehaul applications, Kroes said in a May 10 email.

A Precedent S-750i single-temperature refrigeration unit from Thermo King. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

“Thermo King’s commitment to sustainability and decarbonization is only matched by our drive to provide customers with the solutions they need. With that comes integrating innovative technologies, like Range’s electric trailer platform, that can help us deliver more efficient and reliable transportation solutions while keeping transported food and perishables safe and fresh,” added Chris Tanaka, Thermo King Americas vice president of product management.

Until now, Range pilots of its product focused on dry van trailers, including testing with DB Schenker set to start in the back half of 2024.

DB Schenker (North America) ranks No. 25 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest logistics companies in North America, No. 13 on TT’s list of the top dry storage warehousing firms and is the No. 3 largest airfreight forwarder.

Range is set to introduce the next iteration of its electrified dry van trailers later in May, a spokeswoman confirmed in April.

The beta version of the trailers will offer a full representation of the company’s trailers’ capabilities, CEO Ali Javidan told TT on the sidelines of CES in January.

Currently, Range is offering its alpha product with surrogate motors and batteries, which do not demonstrate the trailer’s full performance, the executive said.

Next year, Range will begin a move from beta trailers to “release candidate” trailers, Javidan told TT. The trailer will be scaled up for full production in 2025. At the end of 2025 or the start of 2026, small series production will begin.

Range raised $23.5 million in new funding in February. Investors included Trousdale Ventures, UP.Partners, R7 Partners and Yamaha Motors Ventures.

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