Incident response trucks require engine to be on to provide a cooler cabin throughout the day. 


A battery-operated solution to replace need for engine to be running backed by research.


Positive results promise substantial client savings, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and wear and tear on the vehicles.

How do we keep our incident response teams cool in their trucks whilst minimising our carbon footprint?

Ventia's incident response teams are first on scene for unplanned traffic incidents and work closely with emergency services and relevant government agencies and authorities to minimise disruption and maximise safety.  

Our incident response teams are first on scene for unplanned traffic incidents. When waiting in the truck cabins before being called out to an incident, the AC is on so they can be cool and alert.

A sustainability dilemma

Always at the ready to respond – in full personal protective equipment and harnessed into their trucks – our teams wait at staging locations with the AC on to keep cool and alert. Running the engine is necessary to keep the AC operational, which results in high fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and associated wear and tear for our trucks.

Troy Mattiazzo manages the incident response teams for our NSW motorways and tunnel assets. He recognised the dilemma and thought there must be a more sustainable way to keep the truck cabin at a pleasant temperature for our teams.

Troy’s bright idea

He took the initiative and presented an idea at a Pizza & Pitch event in Sydney - our company-wide innovation events, inviting our people to present a good idea. He proposed installing a battery in the truck that could keep the AC on without the engine idling – an in-vehicle battery-operated air conditioning unit (HVAC). Not only would a HVAC solution be better for the environment, reducing emissions and noise pollution for the community, but it would also provide savings for the client in fuel costs and servicing, ultimately keeping our trucks working for longer. 

His pitch sparked the interest of executive team members at the event and they encouraged him to keep researching the idea due to its obvious potential.

Troy pitched his idea at a company-wide innovation event, and it sparked the interest of Ventia's executive team members, encouraging him to keep researching the idea.

Collaborating to find a solution

The search proved to send Troy down a bit of a rabbit hole. No immediate fit-for-purpose functional battery-operated HVAC units were available off-the-shelf, so Troy collaborated with both external partners and internal teams in an iterative process to come up with a functional solution. 

Testing a proof of concept

For the last two months, the team has been trialling a HVAC unit that charges from the alternator of the vehicle when the engine is running, but when the vehicle is turned off at the staging location, the AC activates, creating a climate-controlled space to work for the staff whilst waiting for the next incident. They can even charge their devices & equipment without needing to power up the engine.

Troy's idea has now reached proof-of-concept stage, and the results are looking very promising.

Promising results

The innovation is still at proof-of-concept stage, so the team is still gathering data, but for now, results are looking good. Since starting the trial, the HVAC has been averaging around 35 hours of running time per week (around five hours per day), resulting in approximately $35.2 in savings per day at current diesel rates. Add to that the reduction of engine wear, servicing and burning of carbon emissions – data we are still gathering.

Further development and roll-out potential

Next step is to investigate a heating and cooling unit as we move into the cooler months of the year.

From then we have identified around 200 vehicles across our contracts that have similar requirements and would benefit from installing the HVAC – scaling up the advantages of one innovation in a massive way.

The battery sits on the rooftop of the truck cabin, ensuring a pleasant temperature for the teams.

A passion for sustainability

As for Troy, he is passionate about sustainability. Three years ago, he was instrumental in working together with our client to bring out the first electric truck-mounted attenuator (TMA) truck. The work with the TMA sparked Troy’s idea of the HVAC unit. As Ventia is rolling out electric vehicles across our fleet, the incident response trucks still run on diesel. Troy couldn’t help but think what could be done in the interim to reduce emissions, and so the idea of the HVAC was born.

And unlike the engine in our HVAC trial vehicle, Troy doesn’t sit idle. He recently got a truck in with an elevated work platform but immediately noticed the hydraulic lift was diesel-driven. A few phone calls and he is now working with one of our subcontractors to convert it into electric as well.

“Just trying to do a bit more, you know,” Troy says.

Hear from Troy in the video below.