APU, Auxiliary Power Units, Generators

APU, Auxiliary Power Units, Generators. They go by a variety of names but they all solve the same problems. Saving money while increasing truck driver comforts when stopped for long periods of time. Most over the road trucks now include many amenities to make the truck a more tolerable environment on month long cross country dispatches. The days of having a small bunk and limited storage for the truck driver is no longer acceptable. To recruit and retain truck drivers, companies are forced to spend money on rigs with many amenities. And lets not for a minute think that they companies are doing this because they want to – for unless the rig is operated by the owner, there are few companies that would lay out the expenses for these luxury accommodations. Well, at least luxury compared to 30 or more years ago.

Today’s common 60″ condo sleeper unit was considered a ridiculous overstatement 30 years hence, but now, most drivers not getting such amenities will feel insulted, unwanted and may just refuse to make a career out of a job with that company. Owner operators or team operations appreciate the extra space of 70 plus inch units.

Of course, what good is all that extra space if all you do is store stuff? Small refrigerators, TVs with DVD players, radios and music CD players and microwaves are not uncommon. And that is on top of climate control providing heat and cooling. All of these amenities require power. The cost of idling the truck’s engine can cost upwards of a one gallon an hour, plus additional wear & tear maintenance. Thus just idling the your unit for a 10 hour break can easily cost you $40 or more in bottom line profits. Spend the weekend on layover for a Monday morning pickup and your costs can be substancial. With Truck Stop Electrification limited available at limited locations, the economical solution is a APU or Auxiliary Power Unit.

Auxiliary Power Units

There are many manufactures of APU or generator units and I will not be able to cover them all. I welcome any companies or representatives that work with Auxiliary Power Units, to provide additional information on their company’s products. Is a few of the units available. I have no personal knowledge of these units.

The Dynasys APU

: With a Dynasys auxiliary power unit (APU), drivers can maintain in-cab comfort without the noise, vibration and expense of idling. Operating costs are reduced. And compliance with anti-idling laws is achieved as an added bonus.

Externally mounted on the truck rail, Dynasys is protected in its own weatherproof enclosure and operates using the truck’s fuel supply. This compact, diesel-electric system provides dependable comfort for the driver during downtimes, reduces emissions, and dramatically lowers fuel costs during idling. An optional shore power feature also allows the driver to power the truck’s HVAC from any 110v outlet to work independently from the APU. Financing may be available.

Rigmaster Power

Provides sleeper heating & air conditioning, 120 VAC power, fits on most Class 8 trucks, can power existing block heaters.

Turn off your engine and turn on a Rigmaster. Higher fuel prices and reduced truck engine efficiencies due to changing EPA requirements and the adoption of ULSD have all worked to create a challenging operating environment for fleets and owner operators. The RigMaster APU will relieve growing operating costs and stabilize the risks of a volatile market.

RigMaster Power is a complete stand-alone Auxiliary Power Unit that runs all night on what your idling truck engine burns in two hours.

I will amend this posting if provided information on other units.

Happy Trucking, John

Truck Stop Electrification

Truck Stop Electrification is the new buzz word(s) in saving the environment. But there is more to buzz then just words. Today’s over the road trucks are mini-homes on wheels. While some are just the bunk, a little storage and maybe a 12 volt TV/Radio, many now contain small refrigerators, microwave ovens and other entertainment features. Some have sinks with hot/cold water. And of course, staying connected is now more important then ever, with email, video chat, TV show and movie streaming and video games. Add the growing office on the road requirements where paperwork, dispatch information and other reports are now handled instantly, and the growing electrical demands are out pacing the truck’s original battery power system physiology. When you factor in that many drivers are spending longer, multi-day trips on the road and are seeking more in creature comforts, the classic sleeper bunk will no longer cut it.

Be in the cold of winter or the heat of the summer, drivers now expect to be able to sleep in relative comfort. With the Hours of Service (HOS) changes now requiring longer more uninterrupted rest breaks, creature comfort is a more important factor. In the olden days, a driver could pull into a rest area, shut the truck down and craw into the bunk. About 4 to 5 hours later as the temperature in the sleeper became either too hot or too cold, the driver would wake up – and hit the road again. Now, being expected to be out of the seat for 8 to 10 hours at a time, the driver may need to maintain a more temperate environment to sleep thru the break and get the needed rest.

Modern commercial trucks are built with robust and hardy electrical systems, capable of producing more then enough electric juice for the needs of the modern, over the road truck. However, between the increased electrical loads from the toys and “household” appliances and heating/cooling needs, most drivers are forced to idle their trucks during their breaks. A 10 hour break, during which the driver will complete the mosaic of paperwork requirements, grab a meal, maybe a quick shower and of course 8 hours of sleep, a truck engine’s can nominally consume one gallon of fuel per hour. At $4.00 a gallon, that could be an easy $40 in mostly wasted money.

In addition to the wasted fuel, the idling truck creates added pollution. Both air quality pollution and noise pollution. Taken individually, the effects are minimum, however, when 100 trucks are all sitting in the same restrictively small area and each are idling away – the combined pollution and noise is measurable even without sensitive equipment. And at $40 per truck per 10 hour break – 100 trucks could exceed $4,000 in wasted potential profits.

There are two ways that truckers are cutting the idling – one is Truck Stop Electrification and the other is via APU, auxiliary Power Units or generators built into the truck’s systems.

Truck Stop Electrification

The growth of Truck Stop Electrification has taken several different paths. IdleAire, while maybe not the first, because the benchmark. Following their financial collapse, the pieces have been picked up by assorted entities. These services provide for stalls or parking spaces which have either overhead or ground level pylons with heated/cooled air, electrical connections, entertainment connections and other amenities.

The system is utilized by the driver parking in an assigned spot and connecting their truck, normally with unit installed into a cab’s window, to the system’s network. This then gives the driver access to heated or chilled air to maintain a comfortable sleeping and resting area. With access to cable TV, internet and other entertainment options, the driver can be at home even while not at home.

With some systems, the driver will purchase the the window interface and with others, the units can be rented short term during the stay. Pricing for different systems vary greatly, with some receiving support from taxpayer resources and others stand alone commercial operations.

For truck stop operators, Truck Stop Electrification, is a substantial financial investment. An investment that many truck stop owners are unwilling to partake because of the long term pay back requirements. The fastest growth in this area may require more private/public cooperation with cities or states offering grants, low cost loans or other incentitives for truck stops to upgrade these amenities. The cities, ever concerned about pollution and quality of life for near by residents, realize that Truck Stop Electrification could have a direct payback to their citizens. Several state Department of Transportation officials are also jumping on board realizing that Truck Stop Electrification offers many long term benefits to their state.

As increasing fuel prices continue to stress the profit margins of truck operators and pressure grows to curb pollution from idling trucks, Truck Stop Electrification projects will continue to grow.

Happy Trucking – John