At the Whitby Morrison 2019 Event we attended last Tuesday, we were able to view the prototype for the first electric ice-cream van, which was manufactured by Whitby Morrison and Edd China. The van itself is an Amalfi model, the body and interior were built by Whitby Morrison, but the battery-powered engine was built by Edd China.
Edd China is an English television presenter, mechanic, motor specialist, and inventor, best known as being a presenter and mechanic on television show Wheeler Dealers.
‘Edd’s Electric Ices’ was on display at the event and we were able to view the whole van including the electrical engine, which had Edd’s own reflective logo printed on it. We were amazed at how small the electric engine was as it powers the whole van and all the ice-cream machinery inside.
His van is currently a fully working prototype that hopefully will be put into mass production soon. We spoke to a Whitby Morrison employee who confirmed that ‘the van will still have a regular engine, but when the van is idle the machinery inside can be powered by electricity, rather than the engine giving off exhaust emissions.’
Whitby Morrison broke a world record last year for World’s Largest Parade of Ice Cream Vans, so we were eager to find out if there were any plans to break more. We asked another Whitby Morrison employee if they knew, ‘I don’t believe there are any set plans yet, but I know Edd China wants to reach 99mph in his electric van, which would be a world record.’ Let’s see if they can break another world record together!
So, we wanted to know more about this innovative ice-cream van, and we were able to speak to Edd China’s wife, Imogen, who was proud to speak about her husband’s invention.
What was the idea behind the Edd’s Electric Ices?
Recently there has been a lot of criticism against ice-cream vans which sit idly with their engines running. A lot of areas in London have banned ice-cream vans as they emit black carbon and nitrogen dioxide, so Edd thought of creating this environment-friendly, battery-powered ice-cream van. The idea is to convert any ice-cream van to electric without touching the engine, so when the engine is switched off the van can run off electric.
How long did it take Edd to build the engine and finish the van?
He has been working on this project for 2 years now, he got himself invested in this one. He has been solidly working on the engine for the past 18 months to make it perfect. Edd once worked for 3 days with no sleep. I kept saying to him, Edd you need to sleep!
What exactly does the electric power?
Well, the prototype is a completely electric engine, so it powers everything in this van. But once production starts with Whitby Morrison, the engine in the van will still be diesel but when the engine is off the ice-cream machine will run off electric. It won’t just reduce emissions, but it’ll also save owners money because electric is cheaper than fuel. The battery pack can also power slush machines and will allow both a slush machine and an ice-cream machine to run at the same time.
How long will the battery last?
The battery pack in Edd’s prototype can last for 12 hours when fully charged, you can also get battery packs that last for 6 hours. The simplicity of the design means that if a battery pack does run out then a spare one can be swapped over and plugged in, it’s like a cassette system; it’s a slide in set up.
What does the future hold for Edd China and Whitby Morrison?
Whitby Morrison and Edd have built a great relationship through this project and we hope for it to continue. Sometime soon Edd’s design will be approved and production will begin on electric ice-cream vans, we are all excited to see the ice-cream vans out on the roads.
Overall, it was interesting to gain a real insight into the first electric ice-cream van and we can’t wait to see if the ice-cream van industry goes electric along with the van industry!