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Payload is a vital consideration for anyone looking to buy a commercial vehicle. That includes the refrigerated vehicles we stock. Essentially, the payload refers to the legal limit on the amount of weight that our refrigerated vehicles are allowed to carry.

However, since there are several different types of weight associated with each refrigerated vehicle, things can understandably get a bit confusing. We pride ourselves on delivering industry leading payload, like when we helped Oliver Kay gain 20% extra capacity in its new fleet of chiller vans. So, here’s what it all means…

The different weight ratings for refrigerated vehicles

A vehicle’s payload is related to several other relevant weight ratings. Basically, there are only really two main weight ratings you need to worry about when looking to buy a fridge or freezer van. These are a) kerb weight and b) gross weight. So, what’s the difference between them?

Kerb weight is the term used to refer to the weight of the standard, factory-model vehicle, including factory-installed equipment, facilities, and a 90% fuel tank. The kerb weight of a vehicle is calculated when it’s completely empty, and before any modifications (such as one of our own refrigerated conversion kits) have been installed.

On the other hand, the gross vehicle weight (GVW) refers to the actual working weight of the vehicle, with all modifications installed, all crew inside and cargo loaded. (Our refrigerated vehicle kits would be counted in the gross weight, but not in the kerb weight). The gross vehicle weight is governed by the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, which is assigned by the manufacturer when the vehicle hits the market. This rating indicates the highest load each fridge van can carry before the load risks damage to the vehicle, and possibly even danger to the crew and other road users. This rating doesn’t change under any circumstances. This means that the weight of all new components, modifications, passengers, and cargo can’t take the vehicle over its GVWR.

How do these weight ratings relate to a vehicle’s payload?

A vehicle’s kerb weight and gross vehicle weight are both used to calculate its payload. In short, the payload is what’s left over once the fridge van’s kerb weight is subtracted from its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. For example, if a particular van’s GVWR is listed as being 3500kg (3.5 tonnes), and its kerb weight is 1900kg, then its payload capacity will be 1600kg. (Remember, that 1600kg includes absolutely everything loaded into the van, human and otherwise.)

Finally, a commercial vehicle’s payload is normally displayed in its logbook, but we also provide it as a standard piece of information in each of our fridge and freezer van listings here at CoolKit, and we are known for our industry-leading payload.

Or why not read our case study on how we helped Chiltern Distribution gain extra payload capacity on their refrigerated vehicles.