The sun and ice cream go hand-in-hand. Nothing feels like summertime more than enjoying a cool frozen treat in the hot sun. And who doesn’t love the convenience and nostalgia of roaming ice cream trucks, with their bright colors and catchy jingles?
Of course, times are catching up for ice cream trucks too! As electric vehicles gain popularity and society transitions away from fossil fuels, the energy needs of ice cream trucks present a unique problem. Refrigeration requires a lot of energy, and no one wants melted ice cream! Traditional gas or diesel fueled ice cream trucks keep their refrigerators running using the motor as it idles. While it’s effective at keeping your popsicles cold, it’s far from good for the environment.
Fortunately, Nissan has designed a new prototype vehicle meant to change that! The Nissan ice cream van is a zero-emission vehicle and uses second life batteries. It’s based on Nissan’s e-NV200 electric light commercial vehicle. Unlike the fossil-fueled trucks that keep their refrigerators running by idling the engine, this vehicle uses a zero-emissions drive train along with “second life” EV batteries to keep the coolers at a low temp.
The motor of the van runs on a 40 kWh battery. However, its internal appliances run on a different system that Nissan calls ROAM. The ROAM system is a portable power-pack made up of lithium ion cells that are harvested from Nissan’s first generation of electric vehicles. This is why the company uses the term “second life” to describe the ROAM system. This also is beneficial for the environment because the batteries are all recycled!
At this point, you might be wondering why we’re so excited for this vehicle here at Elite Energy. The answer, of course, is solar panels! The new prototype has several roof-mounted solar panels to help keep the truck stay charged all day long. As an incredible bonus, you can even use the panels to generate power when the van isn’t out and about. You can then sell that energy back to the grid, just like you would with your home solar panel system!
To help promote their new prototype, Nissan partnered with ice cream maker Mackie’s of Scotland, who use wind and solar power to make all of their sweet treats. They’re the most popular ice cream maker in Scotland, and they also aim to be Scotland’s “greenest” by becoming completely energy-independent. At the time this post was published, they’re exporting 4.5 times more to the grid than they’re consuming. Now that’s some ice cream you can feel good about!
What do you think of solar powered ice cream trucks? What about solar vehicles in general? Let us know in the comments!