Plugged In Blog

The Future of Food Trucks: Going all-electric and off-grid with Joule Case


Your favorite food truck is most likely powered by gasoline or diesel - even when it’s parked. You know this because you can hear it (and smell it). While attention-grabbing as it may be, it’s not the first thing you want forefront of your mind when it comes to a food or coffee truck. Exhaust smell isn’t appetizing and the rattling of a loud generator is something we all have tolerated, but none of us enjoy.

Welcome to the future. Quiet, clean energy.

Mobile businesses are booming. From food trucks to mobile mechanics, coffee vans to dog groomers . . . the list is as comprehensive as your downtown businesses. Relying on generators is dirty, loud, unreliable, and toxic - to both the environment and atmosphere for food truck operators and potential customers.

So how does one avoid the smell of diesel fuel and the rattling sound of a dirty engine? By switching to a battery-powered electric generator like Joule Case. Mobile and stackable, Joule Case food truck battery systems are replacing carbon-spewing gas and diesel generators and revolutionizing the way mobile businesses run.

Matt Larson, owner of Relationships Coffee and Company in Boise Idaho installed three Joule Case Li4K base stations in his mobile coffee truck. "Gas generators are the standard for food trucks, but they are noisy and smelly - notes of diesel don't pair well with coffee... Joule Case is a lot cleaner. My power needs are high and I needed a big system to power a 4-6 hour event. I chose Joule Case because as a mobile vendor, it allows me to serve people differently... It's more sustainable. It's the right choice for me and my business.” - Matt Larson

Slow River Coffee also installed a similar system in their coffee truck. With a full battery system, the setup and take downtime is significantly reduced. Slow River Coffee owner Sid Gauby took the leap to renewable energy, which he had been considering for some time.

“I’ve just been burning fuel, you know. The price and the capabilities, the battery storage haven’t been there (to convert our generator). With (Joule Case) we could get to that point where it made economic sense as well… Being able to run silently really opens up a lot of doors.”

Joule Case’s stackable battery system was the perfect solution to a more renewable energy system and he plans to continue to make his coffee truck more green with solar panels in the future. His current setup runs his appliances for 6 - 8 hours without recharging, which is enough for about 400 drinks. As head of the Southern Idaho Food Truck Association, Sid thinks that losing the generators could create more opportunities for food trucks and hopes Slow River Coffee serves as an example for other local food truck owners in the area.

For a typical food truck, operating a generator 4 days per week, running a fryer, a fridge, a stove hood and crockpot on an average shift costs about $1,400 per summer season. Those who run year-round, spend more.

Specialized food truck manufacturers like Karpatia are beginning to take notice as well. Partnering with Joule Case helps them provide the most sustainable build possible for their customers.

Most food trucks can pay for the Joule Case battery system upgrade just with fuel cost savings within a couple of years.

And, the emissions reduction in replacing a gas generator with a Joule Case battery is around 40,000 lbs of CO2 - equivalent to taking six vehicles off the road a year.

But it’s not just about cost savings or carbon emissions. It is also about being compact. The reasons for switching to all-electric continue to grow as the mobile food industry booms all over the United States as restaurant owners opt to go mobile instead of brick and mortar. And because batteries don’t require ventilation or ancillary cooling or thermal monitoring equipment, Joule Case batteries can be installed in extremely tight spaces, making them perfect for a portable, efficient, and innovative way to transport a whole lot of energy, keeping your favorite food truck powered through any event.

“It even allows me to serve people differently. I am able to have everything running in my trailer so I can effectively drive around and serve people like an ice cream truck. I don’t have to stop, park, pull out a several-hundred-pound generator, fire it up. There [are] so many things I can do with this system that could not have been afforded had I gone with a gas generator.” - Matt Larson

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