Traditionally mobile coffee installations could be either powered by a large diesel generator of could use propane cylinders to heat the espresso machine boiler, each method having benefits and also significant drawbacks.
The Best of Both Worlds
Our unique power system maintains all the positive aspects of both generator based and LPG cylinder based conversions without suffering any of the negative aspects of either system.
Our system of batteries, chargers and inverters stores enough power for a full day of silent trading with a 2-door pie heater and large 3-door display fridge running as well as the espresso machine and grinder.
What's even better is that the batteries charge whilst you are driving between coffee stops (and when the vehicle engine is idling), enabling unlimited trading without the requirement for an external power source.
Bespoke Systems to Meet Every Requirement
We have a wealth of experience in this area and design the power system for each vehicle to meet its specific requirements. We will always devise and advise the most suitable and cost efficient installation for your coffee or catering vehicle.
In some instances installing a generator is the best option and we supply and install a range of both diesel and LPG generators of various power ratings.
At the top of everyone's list of requirements for their coffee van should be safety. LPG installations are covered by legislation and must be certified annually by qualified Gas Safe engineers. Surprisingly electrical installations, as they are not connected to the national grid, are not covered by any national regulations.
We have seen a number of dangerous (although not illegal) installations with no RCD protection, water tanks installed above battery banks, charging cables run through door seals... you name it. It should not be about doing the minimum necessary to get the vehicle working, when it comes to electricity it should be about doing the most to ensure the safety of the operatives and the general public.
All our conversions operate fully protected circuits and come with a detailed testing schedule and safety certificate.
Compared with Generator Based Systems
Generator powered coffee vans have to carry a large generator which takes up a large amount of potential storage space and is also relatively expensive to run - generally around £10 per day more expensive than our power system. Additionally there is the expense of regular generator servicing.
If not plugged in to a mains power supply then the generator must be kept running in order to power the equipment in the van including any refrigerated units. In effect this means that the coffee van cannot legally be left without shutting everything down (espresso machine loses pressure, chilled food warms up and hot food cools down).
Our power system has enough capacity for the display fridges to be left running overnight (and longer) without an electric hookup and the vehicle can be legally left at any time with all the equipment (including the espresso machine) switched on.
Our power system also allows for silent indoor trading without the requirement for an external electric supply - for example our franchise partners regularly provide gourmet coffees and refreshments inside corporate premises, sports halls, large marquees etc.
Compared with LPG Cylinder Systems
LPG cylinder conversions require the carriage (and venting) of large LPG cylinders, to which ready access is required in order to change the cylinders when required. Although not taking up as much room as a generator the cylinders still take up valuable storage space.
Without an alternative electicity supply, LPG cylinder conversions usually rely on one or two leisure batteries to power the coffee grinder and espresso machine electrics. This provides very little capacity for other items such as a display fridge or pie heater and once these batteries are drained an external power source (generator or mains hookup) is required in order to continue trading. Our power system's high capacity and ability to charge itself from the vehicles engine overcomes these issues.
The other big disadvantage of LPG cylinder conversions is the fact that the LPG burners have to be switched off whilst the vehicle is being driven (not only common sense, also a legal requirement). This means that the espresso machine boiler loses pressure and you will have to wait anything from a couple of minutes to half an hour for the machine to get back up to operating pressure when you arrive at your destination. Our power system overcomes this with boiler pressure maintained whilst driving so that you can make coffees immediately when you get you your coffee stop / event.
“The training on the van was excellent quality. The depth of knowledge about every aspect of the van and its components was obvious to see and it has prepared me well for my new venture”.