LOUISVILLE, Ken. --- During a press conference at the 2007 Mid-America Trucking Show, Peterbilt Motors Co. announced that its battery-based ComfortClass system will be available as a factory-installed option mid-year for select Peterbilt models. The system provides heating, cooling and 110-volt electrical power without the need for the engine to run for up to 10 hours. ComfortClass will be available for Class 8 vehicles equipped with a 70-inch Unibilt sleeper. "The ComfortClass system can reduce annual fuel consumption by about 8 percent,” said Peterbilt Chief Engineer Landon Sproull. "That results in a significant bottom-line improvement by reducing operating expenses by as much as $5,000 a year, per vehicle. Additionally, ComfortClass helps customers comply with anti-idle regulations and operate in a more environmentally friendly way, in addition to the cost savings." While the vehicle is in operation, a 185-amp alternator charges the power pack (four dedicated, advanced glass mat, deep-cycle batteries) and starting batteries. At the same time, the electric air conditioning compressor charges the thermal storage unit mounted behind the sleeper. When the ComfortClass system is activated, the power pack batteries supply power to an electric fan blower in the cooling unit to circulate chilled air though the thermal storage unit and into the sleeper. Air temperature is regulated by adjusting a thermostat and fan speed dial located in the sleeper area, near the bunk. In cold climates, Peterbilt uses a small diesel-fired heating unit that's mounted under the bunk. Also thermostatically controlled, with ducting below the bunk, the unit keeps the sleeper and cab warm in temperatures below freezing. If shore power is available, the system can be plugged in to provide power for all the system functions, as well as hotel loads and battery charging needs. Peterbilt Motors Co., a division of PACCAR Inc., manufactures trucks for a wide range of markets.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials