As a HVAC dealer, Queensland Thermo King is continuing to look for new ways to grow in Australia. The combination of a new electric model and an expanding national network is helping give the dealer a point of difference.
As a dealer of global electric bus air-conditioners, Queensland Thermo King is not alone in the local market.
Yet with a footprint that spans all across Australia and provides extensive aftersales service, it has become a unique member of the local heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) market.
As the national dealer of Thermo King Bus products, Queensland Thermo King has meticulously established a network of support staff and technicians in Queensland and beyond, ranging from its Brisbane head office to subsidiary premises in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.
“This network allows us to do something pretty special in the HVAC market and respond to both market demands and customer needs,” Queensland Thermo King customer solutions manager Allan Lowes told ABC.
“It helps us immensely when we can have people on the ground to provide key decision makers with market knowledge and customer requirements.”
Lowes says Queensland Thermo King has revamped its Brisbane head office to accommodate for the growth of the business and its own electric air conditioning unit offerings.
Alongside the collaboration with Thermo King in the development of new products, Lowes says this dedication to a head office increases capacity to market demands while also allowing for more efficiency when it comes to customer service and overall experience.
He says aftersales support through Queensland Thermo King’s sites around Australia is becoming a vital part of the company’s operations.
“The way we’re approaching this is two faceted,” Lowes says.
“We need a product that keeps up with the latest technology, but then we also know that having support through product technical teams, training teams and support staff is important in the transition to electric models and supporting our customers.
“Our close internal relationship between the customer solutions and operations teams enables this to come to fruition.”
The focus on electric bus technology isn’t limited to aftersales support.
Lowes says Thermo King is fortunate that it is tied to rail products that have evolved in technology for years. This has given the bus side of the company experience and knowledge when it comes to importing and supplying HVAC systems that are now designed for electric buses and coaches.
“We communicated with Thermo King the need for electric products,” Lowes says.
“We’re lucky to have connections in Thermo King who are willing to accommodate and take on our feedback.”
The initial result was the E1200 electric model that first began in 2015.
Late last year, Queensland Thermo King launched an updated version in the E1200 LW (lightweight) model that is now providing more value for electric buses that want to reduce weight in order to increase the vehicle’s capacity to travel longer distances.
Lowes says Queensland Thermo King currently has more than 100 electric air conditioning units in Australia, with the majority being the predecessor in the E1200 model. He expects this to change once the industry understands the new benefits of the LW product.
“The new E1200 LW model supersedes the original electric product we have,” Lowes says.
“All of the same benefits apply from the E1200 model. The oldest E1200 in Australia currently is seven years old and has been performing well.”
This experience from the E1200’s success has allowed Queensland Thermo King to access historical data and learn ways to update the model.
After analysing the performance of the model, Lowes and his team gave feedback to the global Thermo King business about how to improve the electric HVAC system further.
Alongside the continued knowledge that arises from historical performance, Queensland Thermo King was able to receive and begin supplying the E1200 LW model, with the major difference being the reduction in weight.
“The E1200 LW model is more of a compact design, which is quite important for electric buses where roof space is becoming prime real estate,” Lowes says.
“The new model has a lightweight aluminium frame that reduces a substantial amount of weight and aids in getting more range for the vehicle.
“We changed some of the features and used inverter technology and DC power management all in one to make it a unique and purpose-fit model for each bus that we install it on.”
Lowes says the E1200 LW unit is only the start for Queensland Thermo King’s investment into electric models. He says his team is constantly communicating with the global Thermo King body about future product developments and designs.
Lowes says this international connection has been pivotal to Queensland Thermo King’s recent growth.
He credits Thermo King’s global band of engineers who adopt his feedback and support the growing Australian market.
With both Queensland Thermo King and its international body looking to enhance its product range in the coming years, Lowes is grateful for the close relationship that he shares with Thermo King.
“Our partnerships in the Australia and Asia Pacific region are very beneficial for driving local outcomes in our market,” Lowes says.
“We’re now working on different items to add value to the bus solution for HVAC climate control.
“We’ll keep working with OEMs locally and internationally to develop more products that lead this space.”