Auxiliary power units prominent at 2006 MATS

Batteries included.

Auxiliary power units, ranging from battery powered to supplementary units powered by a separate engine, were very much in evidence at the Mid-America Trucking Show as manufacturers scramble for ways to reduce engine idling.

Truck manufacturers joined refrigeration unit manufacturers in providing answers for reduced idling. Among them:

  • Freightliner Trucks announced the availability of a climate-control system that works independently of the vehicle's main engine. It will be offered for Century Class S/T, Coronado, and Columbia Class 8 truck models.

    The Bergstrom NITE (No-Idle Thermal Environment) System is designed to keep the sleeper compartment comfortable without relying on power from the engine.

    “Research shows Class 7 and 8 trucks burn approximately $6,000 in fuel and associated costs idling each year,” said Terry Zeigler, vice-president of electrified systems at Bergstrom Inc.

    Powered by four deep-cycle batteries instead of the truck's electrical system, the NITE air conditioner offers 3,500 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of cooling capacity. The air conditioner draws no energy from the truck's electrical system when the truck engine is off. The diesel fuel-operated heater throws off 2,900 to 7,500 BTUs per hour. The energy requirement to heat the sleeper area is less than one-tenth of a gallon per hour.

  • Kenworth introduced its own solution. The Kenworth Clean Power System features a battery-powered climate control system with the capability to provide engine-off heating and cooling, plus 110v “hotel load” power to drivers for a full 10 hours.

    “Idle reduction is becoming a critical issue for the industry, and the solutions offered to date do not meet the true needs of the industry in terms of cost, approach, or length of operation,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth chief engineer.

    According to Dozier, the Kenworth Clean Power System offers the potential for as much as an 8% improvement in overall fuel economy by eliminating the one gallon of fuel typically burned per idle hour.

    Cooling and electric capacity is generated and stored as the truck is driven down the road, or when the truck is connected to shore power. Once the truck is shut off, the battery-powered cooling system takes over and a thermostat regulates the driver's desired sleeper temperature.

  • Peterbilt also addressed the issue.

“Customers are seeking multiple strategies to reduce fuel consumption, comply with anti-idling laws, and lower operating expenses,” said Dan Sobic, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice-president.

One option is the company's new universal APU connector designed to simplify and reduce costs for an aftermarket auxiliary power unit installation. The Universal APU Connector provides the necessary lines and wiring needed to install a variety of aftermarket units. The 12-volt power is pre-wired from the battery box to the module. Fuel lines are fitted from the fuel tank to the module, and the module is used to make connections once the unit is installed on the chassis. The Universal APU Connector will be available in the third quarter for all Peterbilt models that can be equipped with sleepers.

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