‘Endurance’ vehicle offers a fully electric, zero-emission alternative to diesel-powered Transport Refrigeration Units

Banking giant Barclays and venture capital firm Clean Growth Fund (CGF) have announced they have teamed up to co-invest £3m in clean technology company Sunswap in support of its efforts to slash the logistics industry’s carbon emissions.

Sunswap has developed a fully electric, zero-emission alternative to diesel-powered Transport Refrigeration Units (TRUs). The vehicle – dubbed  ‘Endurance’ – combines solar panels that cover the trailer roof, with battery storage technology, low environmental impact refrigerants, and cloud-based remote monitoring technologies that promise to slash the emissions associated with freezer trucks. 

The Endurance vehicle is already being trialled by DFDS, the global logistics company, with other trials set to begin across Europe soon.

Michael Lowe, co-founder and CEO of Sunswap, welcomed the new investment from CGF and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital.

“The logistics industry in the UK and globally is in the process of transitioning to using fully zero-emission technology for their transport refrigeration requirements,” he said. “At Sunswap, we already have a working, cost-effective solution that is currently being used on UK roads to accelerate this transition.”  

The company says its TRU offers 79 to 93 per cent global warming impact savings when the reductions in CO2 and refrigerant gases are considered. Significantly, it also claims that the vehicle delivers a total cost of ownership saving of between 20 and 50 per cent compared to diesel models.

Stephen Price, investment director at the Clean Growth Fund said the investment showed that Sunswap had developed “a compelling and cost-effective clean solution” for the logistics industry.

“Cold chain owners and operators are under increasing pressure to decarbonise their operations and mitigate the rapidly increasing cost of operating highly polluting, diesel-powered refrigeration units,” he said. “We are therefore incredibly excited about Sunswap’s prospects for future growth, and through our investment, support their journey to commercialisation.”

Sunswap represents CGF’s first investment in the clean logistics sector and is the 10th overall investment made by Barclays through its Sustainable Impact Capital Programme, which has a mandate to invest up to £175m of equity capital in sustainability-focused start-ups by 2025.

James Ferrier, head of sustainable impact capital at Barclays, said: “The Sunswap team have developed an innovative technology that has the potential to significantly decarbonise the food miles in global supply chains. This focus on sustainability will play an important role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and we are excited to be supporting them on the next stage of their journey.”

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