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The refrigerated trucking sector is adopting hybrid diesel-electric power to lower emissions and noise during urban deliveries. These hybrid “reefer” units provide both the autonomy of diesel and the clean, quiet operation of electric in a single system.

Traditional reefers run on loud, high-emission diesel engines to drive on-board cooling systems. But tightening environmental regulations and noise ordinances make all-diesel units problematic for communities. Hybrid reefers offer the best of both worlds.

Dual-mode hybrid reefers can switch between diesel for highway driving and electric for final miles and neighborhood delivery. This allows trucks to turn off diesel units when entering low-speed zones. Large batteries provide sufficient stored power for limited zero-emission refrigeration.

Electric standby mode significantly cuts particulate emissions that impact air quality. The absence of engine noise is a major benefit to communities near loading docks, warehouses, and grocery stores.

Fleets across North America are adding hybrid reefers to meet sustainability goals and be better urban citizens. Major carriers like Meijer, Albertsons, and Food Lion are transitioning portions of their reefer fleets to hybrid power.

Though still more expensive than diesel-only units, the environmental and PR benefits make hybrid reefers a smart investment for the future. As technology advances, the electric range and battery efficiency will only increase.

The refrigerated sector industry has embraced hybrids as the future of sustainable refrigerated hauling. Their flexibility balances the realities of long hauls with the need for clean, quiet local delivery.