MATS notebook: Minimizer gives away $30k, BestPass releases new transponder

Updated Apr 2, 2015

Below are a few notes and news from last week’s Mid-America Trucking Show that we missed last week. Click here to see full coverage of MATS news and announcements.

Minimizer gives away $30k to celebrate 30th anniversary

Chris CoplanChris Coplan

Polycarbonate fender maker Minimizer announced last week at the show the winners in its Minimizer’s 30th Anniversary Sweepstakes, presenting one owner-operator and one fleet representative with $15,000 each.

South Dakota-based owner-operator Chris Coplan won in the owner-operator category, and A. Beaumont Transport out of Quebec won the fleet prize.

Flow Below aero wheel kits ordered for 800-plus fleet

Hirschbach Motor Lines has ordered aerodynamic wheel kits for its fleet of more than 800  tractor-trailers, announced G. Bren Marshell, vice president of sales for manufacturer FlowBelow, at MATS last week.

aerokit-product-1The AeroKits spec’d by Hirschbach include four wheel covers, two center fairings and two rear fairings that fill the gaps between and behind the tractor’s rear wheels. The wheel covers come off easily for inspection or maintenance with the push of a button.

The AeroKit provides 2.23 percent in fuel savings, based on industry standard SAE fuel economy testing performed by the Texas Transportation Institute, Marshell said. Many customers report that the fairings help drive water under the trailer when roads are wet, which increases safety for surrounding vehicles and improves rear vision for the truck driver.

The product is used on about 8,000 to 10,000 trucks, he said. Many of them are part of some of the nation’s largest fleets, as well as small fleets.

Kevin Rutherford, who has built a large owner-operator following through his financial management tips via radio broadcasts and Overdrive’s Partners in Business seminars, will be working more closely with the product as a distributor, Marshell said.

The full kit costs about $1,200 per truck when purchased in high volumes, he said. It costs about $1,800 for a single-truck owner.  

Though FlowBelow works well with trailer wheels, carriers with a high trailer-to-tractor ratio find it too expensive to justify, Marshell said.

-Max Heine

New Bestpass transponder to cut need for many other units

BESTPASS_Horizon_TransponderBestpass announced at the show its new Horizon transponder that will simplify toll management for fleets and owner-operators now using multiple units for tolls, said John Andrews, president and CEO.

“In conjunction with its E-ZPass compatible transponder, the new Bestpass Horizon transponder will allow for single source toll account management for the major toll facilities not currently part of E-ZPass, eventually removing the need for five to seven transponders,” he said at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky.  

The company also announced that Kansas and Florida tolling authorities have joined its growing nationwide network.

Currently E-ZPass and Bestpass each serve states that are not served by the other, Andrews said.

By August, Bestpass plans to have toll discount and management programs in place with 99 percent of all U.S. tolled miles, excluding only a few bridges and HOV lanes. The company is working hard to bring its services to Oklahoma and Texas before the end of 2015, and anticipates adding coast-to-coast toll facility coverage in Canada in 2016.

The Horizon transponder is being tested by fleets in Kansas and Florida. Once testing is complete, Schneider, Werner, Prime and many other fleets have committed to using the new transponder. Its introduction coincides with the planned completion of affiliations with tolling authorities across North America. The addition of the Kansas Turnpike and Florida’s Turnpike, including the range of all other SunPass tolled facilities in Florida, will result in a significant number of toll road miles that are heavily traversed by commercial vehicles being added to the Bestpass service.

“We can now offer our customers a solution that minimizes transponder requirements, maximizes flexibility and savings, and radically improves our single account, single service center toll management service,” Andrews said.

-Max Heine

IdleAir celebrates 5 years

Following its 2010 reentry into the market, IdleAir announced at MATS it just celebrated its fifth year. At the show it announced it now has locations at 40 truckstops and fleet terminals and more than 6,000 parking spaces of intact expansion capacity to realize, from its pre-2010 network.

IdleAir also said it has launched new bundles that include 120v power and DirectTV, with base prices on those starting at $1.25 an hour. It also launched a bundle for members of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association — a 12-hour package that costs $23 and includes HVAC service, high speed broadband access and 50 Convoy Points.

Trucker Buddy gets school grants from PeopleNet

Trucker Buddy announced at the show that PeopleNet has granted $500 to 12 schools for school supplies and equipment needs as part of Trucker Buddy’s School Supply Grant Program, which started in the fall.