Maxwell and Spark is a Durban-based lithium-ion battery manufacturing business. Photo: Pixabay

CAPE TOWN – Maxwell and Spark on Wednesday launched the PolarLi, the world's first commercially available battery-electric truck refrigeration system at the Futureroad/Automechanika expo in Johannesburg. 

Maxwell and Spark is a Durban-based lithium-ion battery manufacturing business, which has partnered with Spar Group and Scania to build and test various prototypes. 

“We spent a year designing our first prototype, which has now been running seamlessly at Spar Group for more than 18 months. We're now ready for commercial sale,” said Maxwell and Spark chief executive Dr Clinton Bemont. 

The PolarLi electric truck fridge system will replace the standard diesel truck fridge. 

“It costs about 20 percent to 30 percent more than a diesel fridge to buy, but your monthly running costs, which are mostly made up of fuel and servicing, will drop by 90 percent,” said Bemont. 

“You'll also put an average of 75 percent less CO2 into the atmosphere, making it the greenest truck fridge in the world,” he said. 

The Spar Group South Africa logistics executive Solly Engelbrecht said that they were in the process of rolling out more of the PolarLi systems. The PolarLi system recharges its batteries in an average of 30 minutes and is designed to run for up to 18 hours between charges.