The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Webasto BlueCool Truck Commences Idle-Free Technology Tour

June 26, 2006

FENTON, MI - Growing concerns about high fuel costs and increased vehicle emissions hurting the earth's atmosphere are just two reasons Webasto has developed new idle-free technology for the commercial trucking industry. One of Webasto's new product technologies, called BlueCool Truck, is installed on tractor-trailers to keep interior bunk temperatures near 70 degrees for up to 10 hours, allowing drivers to sleep comfortably, without idling their truck engine. The fuel savings alone allows the BlueCool Truck system to amortize in a short time, because a traditional idling truck diesel engine consumes about one gallon of fuel per hour. Unlike Auxiliary Power Units (APUs) on the market, BlueCool Truck does not use the vehicle's fuel, and puts out zero emissions. Fleets and owner-operators can accrue fuel savings of thousands of dollars by utilizing the BlueCool Truck system. Webasto is taking the BlueCool Truck technology on a cross-country tour this summer to additionally demonstrate its enormous potential to meet the demands of ever-increasing environmental legislation, while also providing a chance for drivers to stay cool in the heat of summer rest-time stops. Truckers have regularly idled their engines to run the factory-installed air conditioning if they wish to rest comfortably when summer temperatures rise. But legislation in more than 20 states and Canada, plus increased pressure nationally from the EPA, is making that practice illegal. In most cases, local laws prohibit the idling of diesel-fueled commercial motor vehicles weighing more than 10,000 lbs. for more than five minutes when not engaged in work activities. Additionally, city mayors of at least 225 major metropolitan areas nationwide have recently taken a pledge to adopt laws and policies (including anti-idling legislation) that support the goals of the Kyoto Protocol. "BlueCool Truck technology allows drivers to rest comfortably, conform to state and local environmental laws and, at the same time, save considerable amounts of fuel that would otherwise be burned up idling the truck's engine," said Don Kanneth, director, sales services, heavy duty thermo, Webasto Product North America. Demonstration of the new BlueCool technology starts in the southeastern United States, and travels along the Gulf Coast and lower Midwest, before heading to the Southwest and West Coast in early August. BlueCool Truck, as well as other idle-free technologies, are fitted in a Class 8 Webasto Project Vehicle, with planned stops at selected cities for product demonstrations to fleet owners, truck aftermarket installers, owner operators, dealers, and legislators in government and environmental programs. Webasto's BlueCool Truck team will host receptions at hotel conference centers, providing attendees the chance to win a BlueCool Truck unit. Another objective is to secure installation and service facilities additional to the expansive Webasto distribution network in place. Designed for no-idle bunk cooling while the driver sleeps, BlueCool Truck is charged while the truck is moving down the road. It provides cool cabin air via stored thermal energy, and uses minimal 12-volt power to run fans and circulate the coolant. The patented (with additional patents pending) BlueCool Truck system uses no diesel fuel during the cooling operation because it runs independently of the vehicle's air conditioning system. It uses only small amounts of electricity to circulate super chilled coolant between Webasto's innovative cold storage unit and a heat exchanger in the truck sleeper cab - all run by four small, quiet air distribution fans. Cities in which Webasto plans to visit include: Charlotte, NC; Columbia, SC; Atlanta, Birmingham, Ala.; Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Nashville, Memphis, Little Rock, Ark.; Fayetteville; Tulsa, Okla.; Oklahoma City; Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio; Albuquerque, NM; and Phoenix. "Truck dealership customers are looking for this type of new technology, but few dealers are fully aware of what's available so we wanted to take the technology to them," said Reid Landis, Webasto Marketing Specialist - Truck Division. "End users can enjoy quicker payback with the combination of new technology and the ever-increasing price of fuel."
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