Mack Trucks has introduced a battery-operated anti-idling system to replace engine idling as a power source for heating and cooling and amenity loads for stationary trucks.
The environmental and financial benefits of reducing idling are significant. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates heavy-duty truck idling in the US consumes 960 million gallons of diesel fuel annually, and the average heavy-duty truck burns 0.8 gallons per hour. According to the EPA, truck idling results in annual emissions of 11 million tons of CO2, 180,000 tons of NOx and 5,000 tons of particulates.
The Idle Free system uses a bank of high-efficiency absorbed glass mat (AGM) lead-acid batteries to provide stored electrical power for heating, air conditioning and amenities, such as TV or microwave. The bank of five AGM batteries is stored under the sleeper’s bunk.
The batteries can be recharged three different ways: by the truck’s alternator when the engine is running; through a shore power connection when the vehicle is stopped; or through an available connection to the reefer unit for tractors hauling refrigerated trailers. When the truck is not moving, the driver can use battery power or shore power to run heating, air conditioning and amenities. The system provides either 12- or 120-volt power.
Idle Free uses a Xantrex Prosine 2000W inverter/charger to control and regulate electrical power, as well as to charge both the Idle Free batteries and the truck’s batteries. Mack'’s complete climate control package includes a Webasto diesel-fired heater and a Dometic HVAC unit. The Odyssey AGM 31 batteries have the ability to run the AC for 10 hours with an outside air temperature of 90 degrees.
The total weight of the system, with five batteries, inverter, HVAC and controls is 370 pounds—less than many APUs