An ice cream van powered entirely by solar and batteries generates enough energy to operate all of the catering equipment on board, including refrigeration, ice cream machines and coffee makers.
The Styles Solar Van, which is now commercially available, is the brainchild of David Baker, the owner of Styles Farmhouse Ice Cream, based in Rodhuish, Somerset.
He said: “I listened to our customers – event organisers and show directors – who did not want their visitors to inhale the fumes from a diesel engine ice cream van whilst they were stationary selling ice cream. So, I went looking for a solution. After a great deal of research and development, I created a successful system using solar panels and batteries.”
Installed within the van is the latest Carpigiani 191P soft serve ice cream machine, as well as a Rijo42 Brasil coffee machine. However different, low efficiency coffee machines can also be fitted depending on power requirements.
The van also powers a 380 litre ‘top-sliding’ fridge and a 700 litre freezer. Furthermore, any slush machines with lower power requirements can be fitted on the vehicle.
The Styles Solar Van concept started life in 2016. The first prototype – using four solar panels – was ready in 2018 and the second prototype using eight solar panels started trials in May 2019. It is now available commercially for the first time.
It is built on the Peugeot Boxer Van, although other van types can be used. Fitted with the latest Euro 6 low emission engine for transport, on site the solar panels and batteries will power the freezer compartments and also Mr Softee machines as well as the equipment including coffee and slush machines.
Mr Baker added: “We have been trialling our vans all summer and have had an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from both event organisers and the public at places like Glastonbury and the Henley Regatta.
“In full sun the van can operate for up to five to six days. On cloudy days it will run for two to three days. The system can be fully re-charged using mains electricity in just four hours.”
Baker and his team will be at the Ice Cream and Artisan Food Show on 11-13 February 2020 in Harrogate to showcase their vehicle, run through how it operates, and take orders.