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1 Turn off the engine.
Avoid excessive warm-up times when starting the truck. Even for a short stop, you’ll save money by not idling. Look for other times when you have a habit of idling but can’t justify it.
2 Use shorepower when it’s available.
Many inverters and APUs come with a plug-in option that converts incoming current to DC to charge the batteries, using AC to power climate-control units and/or in-cab accessories. The truck stop electrification movement to help eliminate idling has gained steam in the past year, with plug-in options available at many more parking spaces.
3 Get an electric APU.
These systems typically utilize electric power from a bank of high-capacity absorbed glass mat batteries – often replacing your truck’s starting batteries – to power climate control units and in-cab accessories. Often, a diesel-fired heater is included in the system for heating. The systems cost roughly half to two-thirds of most diesel APUs. They won’t cover your power needs over a 34-hour restart, but for drivers getting home once a week they could be most appropriate.
4 Purchase a diesel-powered heater.
Operators in northern climates may not need to shell out up to $9,000 for a full-function diesel APU because a less expensive diesel-fired heater can keep the cab plenty warm while burning around a quarter of the fuel an APU uses.
5 Use a DC air conditioner.
If your need for cooling when resting is low, battery-powered air conditioners can be paired with high-capacity batteries and a fuel-fired heater for a comprehensive cab climate control alternative to idling.
6 Get an engine block heater.
If you find yourself operating far enough north that you often idle a lot to warm your engine, you might save in the long run by getting a block heater.
7 Use an inverter.
It will convert direct current from your batteries to alternating current to power in-cab accessories. If your idle time needs are limited, installation of an inverter can supply adequate electricity to power in-cab electrical devices.
8 Get a mobile generator.
Like diesel APUs, gasoline- or diesel-fired generators can be installed on the frame rail and utilized, often costing a fraction of an APU’s price, to power in-cab accessories and HVAC systems.
9 Use your reefer for climate control.
The unique reefer-based Idle Free Electric APU, developed initially by Overdrive 2006 Trucker of the Year Robert Jordan, uses the power capacity of the reefer unit to function much as a diesel APU would – running cab accessories and climate control devices when the truck is idle as well as charging truck batteries.
10 Install an automatic engine start-stop system.
These can be set up to shut down the engine after a certain amount of idle time or, tied to a thermostat, to turn on when the cab goes above or below a certain temperature. Entering the market late this year, the Idle Smart system will measure internal and external temperatures and interact with truck cooling and heating sources, outside air and engine block heat to keep the cab comfortable.
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