World's first commercialised battery-electric truck refrigeration system
Maxwell and Spark began designing the PolarLi system in 2017. Our first prototype went live (in partnership with SPAR group, one of the world's largest retail chains) in 2018. After thousands of hours of testing, we finally launched the PolarLi system for commercial sale in October 2019.
To date, we are the only company in the world to commercialise a fully integrated, battery-electric mobile refrigeration system. Each component is fabricated to our specification. All engineering design and final assembly happens in our factory in Durban, South Africa. We currently work with most large fleet owners in South Africa. We are also shipping our units to North America and Australia.
Our units are slightly more expensive (20-50%) than a diesel equivalent, but you save about 90% on the fuel costs. Overall you can expect roughly a 50% or more lifetime saving. We are also pioneering a Cooling-as-a-Service model, where we actually give you our units at no charge, and you only pay for the cooling that you use. For zero CapEx you can expect around a 15-40% operational cost saving from day one, as well as 60-100% reduction in carbon emissions.
We hold 2 international patents* and have been nominated for the Trailer Innovation Awards 2021 in the category Environment.
* Patent pending no: 2020/03965 - For trailers; 2020/03964 - For rigid body trucks
Solly Engelbrecht, Group Logistics Executive of The SPAR Group South Africa
Mark Templeton, Manager of Sustainability for Scania South Africa
An Interview with our CEO
CHOOSING THE CORRECT SIZE
Maxwell and Spark's innovative modular battery design allows you to select the battery size appropriate for your needs
Maxwell and Spark's PolarLi batteries are designed in modules called 'Maxwell Power Units' or MPUs for short. Based on your application (fridge ~2°C / freezer ~18°C) and unit type (rigid body / trailer) and size, you can then choose the battery size that will sufficiently cover your run times using our selection matrices below. We recommend you aim for just above your average run time. You don't need to cater for your absolute maximum run times as the system will automatically fall back to diesel mode and continue to run normally in these rare occasions.
* All run times are indicative and may vary based on ambient conditions and door openings. However, these results were collected in Summer in Durban South Africa which has a tropical climate (warm and particularly humid). In other words, our tests were done under relatively strenuous conditions and so represent more of a worst case result.
** Trailer run times are still provisional and awaiting outcome of road testing.
*** For applications not listed here (like multi-temp or trailer freezers) please speak to our sales team for a custom solution.