Belgian food box provider HelloFresh has received seven Mercedes-Benz eVito refrigerated electric vans with a cooling upfit made by Kerstner.
Many customers would like to change their vehicle fleet over to sustainable drive concepts and, especially in urban zones, to operate their routes using battery-electric vans. In order to meet the specific requirements for the transport of temperature-sensitive goods, as part of the co-creation approach, there was intense discussion with more than 40 customers worldwide from the field of food and medicine transport.
Mercedes-Benz Vans joined numerous drivers on their routes in order to see where the sticking points were in the daily life of a delivery driver, as well as to ascertain where processes could be optimized and how locally emission-free vehicles can best show their strengths in this domain.
Together with food box provider HelloFresh from Belgium, the company held a series of workshops, created process analyses and, on the basis of accompanying the drivers on their routes, determined the needs and requirements of the customers.
The result was a vehicle which is based on the Mercedes-Benz eVito and which, together with the refrigerated body specialists from Kerstner, was further developed to market maturity. The electrically-powered mid-size van also uses its batteries for the active cooling of fresh produce in the load compartment and is thus positioned as a solution for sustainable and locally emission-free food deliveries in urban areas.
In September 2019, the special refrigerated eVito was used by HelloFresh as part of a four-week pilot project in order to check its suitability for everyday use. It reliably maintained the load compartment temperature (fresh produce deliveries) and was able to assist the driver with up to 50 deliveries per route.
Previously in the eGrocery delivery market, the active cooling of temperature-sensitive products in the load compartment either meant independent auxiliary battery solutions or the use of passive cooling methods using such things as cooling pads or dry ice.
While additional batteries are big, heavy, expensive and detrimental to the payload capacity, the alternatives are neither sustainable nor environmentally friendly. This growing sector is also facing the challenge of increasing restrictions on entering cities and thereby the possibility of not being able to deliver to inner-city locations.
A locally emission-free vehicle concept is therefore an inevitability in such cases and, in view of the typical tours driven and their plannable daily nature with an average operating range of between 80 and 120 kilometers, the Mercedes-Benz eVito is a great choice.
The technical concept of the refrigerated eVito is based on the idea that the electrical energy available in the Mercedes-Benz eVito is also used for the active cooling. To this end, the particularly energy efficient Kerstner C106EA refrigerating unit is connected to the vehicle’s on-board electrical system, thereby allowing the size of the additional battery required for the supply of energy to be kept as small as possible.
Accordingly, this refrigerated vehicle has three operating modes which guarantee constant cooling during the entire delivery process:
Stationary cooling via mains electricity for operating the system whilst the vehicle is loaded at the hub;
cooling using the high-voltage vehicle battery while driving; and
using the buffer battery for cooling during deliveries or breaks.
In order to reduce the energy consumption of the cooling system, the Kerstner insulation of the load compartment has an especially low thermal transmittance value of 0.30 W/m²K.
The concept for locally emission-free deliveries of temperature-sensitive products is also expected to be extended to other sectors and model series in the future.