Idling Alternatives for Truck Climate Control, Electrification

What idling alternatives exist for CMVs and truckers?Assuming that drivers need climate control and electrification, what idling alternatives are there?

We are aware of these:

  • don’t idle and do without both climate control and electrification (no matter the temperature, humidity, smells, noise, insects, etc. even if window screens are used);
  • connect to shore power such as CabAire or IdleAir if it is available (but pay for it, possibly out of your own pocket);
  • plug into external electrification (that is, run a power cord from the truck to an electrical receptacle outside the truck — although this may not provide climate control);
  • install and use a diesel-powered auxiliary power unit (APU);
  • rely on a battery-powered climate control device (until the charge on the batteries run down — although this may not provide electrification);
  • install a generator (assuming you have the room to mount one on your truck and that it will provide
    the functionality you need); or
  • go outside the truck (such as the driver’s lounge at a truck stop, one of your trucking company’s terminals or get a hotel/motel room).


Idling alternatives: 7 options

We plan to discuss APUs as idling alternatives separately, including aspects such as the payback, weight-related issues, maintenance, repair, portability and tax deductibility.



Assume for a brief moment that a driver wanted

  • climate control and electrification (the creature comforts of setting up his or her “home sweet home“) and
  • a way to help his/her trucking company save money once idling costs are calculated,
  • but his/her company is not willing to foot the bill to pay for an APU even when summer heat makes a hot truck.

Besides providing our empowerment idea, we have envisioned this proposition.


Trucker-Focused Media

As a courtesy, we are providing links to a number of articles on the subject from Land Line Magazine:

  • Shore power (June 2002)(1)
    If you want to eliminate idling, all you have to do is “plug in”
  • Stop Your Engines (December 2005/January 2006)(2)
    A buyers’ guide to idling solutions
  • Idling reduction options (August/September 2006)(3)
    List of manufacturers
  • Gen sets & APUs (February 2004)(4)
    List of manufacturers
  • The ABCs of APUs (August/September 2006)(5)
    Parameters and Specifications
  • More miles (February 2006)(6)
    Getting the best fuel mileage possible takes a lot of knowledge and discipline
  • New Day, New Way (August/September 2007)(7)
    Idling-reduction solutions
    List of manufacturers
  • A winner in the war on idling(8)
    Idle Free
  • American Idle (August/September 2008)(9)
    Solutions: Products provide creature comforts
    Products and manufacturers


truck drivers money saving tip iconMoney saving tip: From a health-preserving standpoint, we do not recommend that OTR drivers suffer in a hot truck.

Instead, we recommend that you explore viable, low cost idling alternatives.

Because you may seldom be parked at a truck stop that has systems like Idle Air, a truck-mounted system like an auxiliary power unit (APU) that is not dependent on the charge on a set of batteries works best.


Return from Idling Alternatives for Truck Climate Control, Electrification to our Truck Operations page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.




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