When the new Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain opened its first grocery stores in Southern California this fall, it was supported by a ‘green’ fleet of refrigerated trailers that feature Carrier Transicold’s hybrid Vector’ 1800MT multi-temperature systems. Carrier is a unit of United Technologies Corp.

Featuring Carrier’s patented Deltek’ diesel-electric technology, the Vector 1800MT system is a radical departure from conventional mechanical refrigeration. It uses an electric generator to power all components, reducing emissions and noise while eliminating many maintenance items, and increasing performance and reliability. Already popular in Europe, the hybrid Vector unit was introduced in North America last year and is attracting attention from environmentally conscious trucking lines and food retailers.

With 122 store locations announced to date, British retail giant Tesco is developing a new chain of stores for the US based on the concept of providing consumers fresh, high-quality foods and a faster, easier neighborhood shopping experience. Like Fresh & Easy’s stores and facilities, which use energy-efficient lighting, solar panels and freezers, its trailer fleet will further Fresh & Easy’s goal to be a good neighbor and environmental steward.

‘The Vector 1800MT supports our green initiatives and is the only refrigeration unit available with a true hybrid diesel-electric platform,’ said Dan Parilo, manager of Transportation and Operations for Fresh & Easy. ‘Not only do we get exceptional efficiency and reliability through Vector’s streamlined design, it also helps us reduce our environmental impact.’

The Vector 1800MT unit integrates a diesel engine with an all-electric refrigeration system to deliver increased reliability, improved performance and environmental benefits. Deltek technology strips away conventional mechanical transport refrigeration parts such as belts, shafts, pulleys, valves, dampers and gearboxes that eventually require service or replacement. The diesel engine drives a high-output electric generator that creates enough electricity to run system components, such as fans, heating elements and the compressor.

Installed and supported by Carrier Transicold of Southern California, the Vector 1800MT system lets Fresh & Easy shut down the engine and plug each unit into an electric power supply for loading at the distribution center and unloading at stores. This ‘standby capability’ reduces diesel consumption and exhaust, which is especially important in California, where transport refrigeration emissions regulations are the strictest in the nation. It is also less expensive to use standby instead of diesel.

Fresh & Easy is also concerned about noise. On the road, Vector units are quieter than conventional systems, and in standby mode they operate with no sound from the diesel engine. On standby, the unit runs like a very large and sophisticated electric refrigerator.

‘Tesco is known for the tremendous amount of analysis it does when making a business decision,’ said Ignacio Aguerrevere, director of marketing and product development for Carrier Transicold’s North American Truck, Trailer and Rail business. ‘We are delighted that Fresh & Easy selected the Vector 1800MT units to support its business and environmental strategy.’