Chevrolet
is ready to introduce the coolest thing to happen to big-rig trucking since the days of "Convoy" and "BJ and the Bear." The General Motors division is pitching a product called IdleAir, a system that the automaker says can let truckers maintain enough rest-stop power to run a television, air conditioning and a laptop at a truck stop without requiring the truck's diesel engine to idle. As the saying goes, idling gets you nowhere.

The system involves what looks like a long, chute-type contraption that drops from a truss and hooks up to the passenger-side window of the truck via a plastic window adapter. The chute serves as a heating or cooling air vent and includes power outlets. Chevy estimates that big trucks burn a gallon of diesel per idling hour and systems like IdleAir could eventually cut truck-idling enough to reduce emissions by as many as eight million metric tons of CO2. IdleAir will even include solar panels on some of its trusses, making the power provision all the greener. Check out Chevy's press release below.

While the studies of the effect of truck idling on the environment are still evolving, there's no question that reducing idling is a good thing. California, for example, has Certified Clean Idle stickers. Earlier this month, a study was released showing that the black particles created by the burning of diesel and other fuels, i.e. black carbon or soot, may contribute to global warming at two to three times the rate than was previously estimated.



Show full PR text
CHEVROLET SUPPORTS PROJECT TO HELP TRUCKERS AVOID IDLING

DETROIT – Chevrolet is supporting a project to help long-haul truckers avoid idling during rest breaks at truck stops through a technology that maintains a comfortable cabin temperature and powers a TV, laptop or microwave without emitting the carbon dioxide emissions that come from engine idling.

The IdleAir project is one of many innovative carbon-reduction projects across America where Chevrolet is making an impact on local communities, jobs and the environment. The brand is supporting various energy efficiency, renewable energy and conservation initiatives in its goal to prevent up to 8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide from entering the earth's atmosphere. To date, it has secured commitments for nearly 7 million metric tons.

With Chevrolet's help, IdleAir can further expand availability of its engine-idling alternative. With the service, a driver pulls into an IdleAir space and installs a reusable plastic window adapter that accepts a unit connecting his or her cab to a heating and cooling air vent, TV, power outlets, internet and other conveniences. The truck engine can then be turned off, saving fuel, reducing emissions and keeping power on to the big rig's amenities.

"IdleAir enables drivers to enjoy a better environment inside and outside of the cabin, without the noise, vibration, and exhaust fumes from idling," said IdleAir CEO Ethan Garber. "By expanding access to this option throughout America, communities experience cleaner air, reduced noise pollution, local job creation, and an increased tax base for the local economy."

IdleAir users save a gallon of diesel fuel per truck per hour. Drivers typically rest at night, so IdleAir uses off-peak power and has begun installing solar panels on some of its overhead trusses to provide solar-powered electricity.

"Chevrolet's significant investment is driving innovation and encouraging unique ways for the country to sustain cleaner energy and, ultimately, reduce the effects of climate change," said Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group.

Chevrolet was the largest corporate buyer of voluntary carbon reduction credits in the United States by volume for 2011 as tracked by Forest Trends' Ecosystem Marketplace, a nonprofit source of environmental news and data.

"If we want to leave the world a better place, we need to change the way we do things," said David Tulauskas, GM sustainability director and manager of the Chevrolet carbon-reduction initiative. "Climate change, population growth, urbanization and other issues require our industry to transform itself. We are going beyond our traditional scope of responsibility – building efficient vehicles – into these community-based carbon-reduction projects to help demonstrate our commitment."

Other recent project investments include:

Bethlehem forest management in Pennsylvania – Collaborating with The Nature Conservancy to manage about 20,000 acres of forest to improve forest ecosystem habitats and produce a long-term supply of timber for local mills.
Dempsey Ridge wind farm in Oklahoma – Investing in a 132MW project featuring 66 wind turbines on 7,500 acres of agricultural and grazing land.
Gualala River improved forest management projects in California – Managing a 13,913 acre tract by avoiding commercial timber harvesting and allowing existing trees to grow.
Projects must be reviewed, validated and verified before the investment is completed. Actual carbon reductions take place between 2010 and 2014.

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 140 countries and selling more than 4.5 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature spirited performance, expressive design, and high quality. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Great idea. It is beyond stupid to have trucks idling when you can just provide cheap electricity. But that system seems a bit over-complicated. The AC of trucks should be designed so it can run on external electricity such that they don't need that big hose with cooling.
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        That electricity aint cheap, filling the tanks of those huge tanks costs hundreds of dollars.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Right now AC in trucks runs from mechanical energy input. So you think they should upsize the alternator and put in a big electric motor so that the AC can run off electricity when stationary? That'll reduce efficiency on the road, which matters a lot to these trucks. I'm not as certain as you that the idea of electrical AC is a good one in trucks.
      q`Tzal
      • 1 Year Ago
      Trucker's viewpoint: I am a driver for a major fleet and I do not own the vehicle that I drive. I have no options to use Idleaire or any of the other anti-idle, fuel saving or just plain not wasteful options that do not incur out of pocket expense; fuel expenses go on the company fuel card. While states like California have anti-idling laws they also issue "Clean Idle" stickers that allow trucks to idle that have certain emissions reductions and automatic idle cutoff in "comfortable" temperature ranges. Unfortunately this does not take in to account that a big rig is basically a hot box that needs massive ventilation to stay in a comfortable range in spring and fall and large energy inputs to heat and cool a mostly uninsulated box in summer and winter. Because of this most truckers learn quickly to force a truck to idle so they can get enough sleep to drive safely. Now in my big company fleet they have little auxiliary power units (APUs) that run on much less diesel while parked to provide HVAC and electricity ... But only on the older trucks. Drivers that own their own trucks pay their own fuel costs so there is more impetus to reduce fuel costs. Of course these APUs weigh upwards of 500lbs so it adds extra weight all the time, reduces total load weight they can haul and is a 2nd engine that requires maintenance; this is the alleged reason that large fleets are discontinuing their use. To be used these external HVAC/entertainment/electrical systems need to be cheaper than fuel costs, even at $4.50/gallon on a full 10 hour rest break idling my engine is cheaper. These systems also need consistent broad deployment. Most long haul truckers are being paid by the mile. What this means is that to make enough money to survive we need to be able to work & drive on all of our daily hours as permitted under Federal CMV Hours of Service rules. What THAT means is that I can't afford to stop 100 miles early to stop a the one truck stop I know has IdleAire/whatever if I don't know the others down the road have it too; I'll just stop somewhere and idle if needed. As a 1st step Shore power electrical supply systems will be the best path forward. While electric HVAC systems are not common yet it is easy to see that big trucks dependent upon diesel or even natural gas will soon have to transition to series hybrid electrics like locomotives did years ago. When that happens all this non-driving stuff will easily be handled by external electrical supply. I personally despise the wasteful truck freight paradigm and think we should transition to system where trailers are picked up from the local rail yard (intermodal) and only trucked the last few miles. Only as a precursor to moving all freight on something like evacuated tube transport (http://www.et3.com) where the costs per ton drop dramatically and its speeds may make the only freight moving system able to keep up with 21st century pacing.
        Giza Plateau
        • 1 Year Ago
        @q`Tzal
        So you burn a car tank of diesel just to sleep? Wow what a despicable waste
          q`Tzal
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Giza Plateau
          I agree. But like every other environmental issue where obvious solutions are not applied, year after year after year, it comes back to money. Currently it the cheapest option is what described above; this is a sad state of affairs but it is what we have to overcome if we want to change the freight industry. It might be cheaper to eliminate the need for truck drivers.
      Tom Shire
      • 1 Year Ago
      As other commenters have already noted, shore power ,as used at campgrounds and marinas, is an off-the-shelf technology that should be deployed at truck stops and rest areas. Idle Aire is a cumbersome and overly complex solution that provides services truckers don't need (e.g. telephone and cable TV). It isn't necessary to reinvent the wheel when a perfectly suitable and affordable technology already exists. Requiring that all new trucks be built with shore power hookups would increase costs k incrementally. And businesses that filled the ensuing demand for electricity could make a tidy profit while truckers and the country could save millions of gallons and dollars.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Every little helps ! We have invested in the development of an evaporative cooling system, that doesn't add the humidity, and requires very little water. Prototypes installed in bases, have provided very promising results, and the problems that occurred with large trucks installations are being overcome. Evaporative cooling is very environmentally beneficial, healthier, more effective, and mush cheaper to operate, and install. The biggest problem is that most largest vehicles are manufacturerd with refrigerated air-conditioning as a standard feature !
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Marcopolo
        I fail to see how consuming water for cooling and increasing the local humidity is environmentally beneficial.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          @ Rotation Lets look at your proposition shall we ? What you are saying is that manufacturing a powerful compressor to pump a chemical refrigerant through expensive and complicated produced coils, valves, and steel housing, adding fans, complex thermostats, outlets to discharge dehumidified waste water, (possibly contaminated by refrigerant), is less environmentally harmful than the production of a centrifugal fan and a small water pump ? Surely, that's just plain absurd! Refrigerated air-conditioning systems are one of the largest power consumers during the summer months. In contrast, in some settings, evaporative cooling can actually reduce overall power consumption ! Refrigerated systems are inherently less efficient. In many instances refrigerated air conditioning must work harder to process an additional percentage of fresh air. In major installations, refrigerated systems require huge water towers, consuming vast amounts of water, just to reduce to external ambient temperature. (so much for your water consumption argument ! ). In a vehicle, refrigerated air-con operates on fossil fuel. Watch how your fuel consumption increases, when you turn on your aircon ! Evaporative cooling is instant ! In 60 seconds, the temperature is around 74 degrees. No matter how high the external temperature ! Nor does it matter, if doors and windows are left open. The amount of water consumed by evaporative cooling is not sufficient to create any environmental problems. Even in areas of extreme drought, evaporative cooling draws so little water as to be unaffected by regulations restricting water use. The process we have been developing, recycles recaptured water vapour, the processed air remains 75-6 degrees F, but maintains acceptable levels of humidity. (This is very important in the mining industry.) We fitted our prototype to a city bus. The bus carried up to 58 passengers, and operated for more than 12 hrs on a day where temperatures soared to 103 degrees F. The bus operator reported the bus maintained it's passengers in comfort, and used less than 7 gallons of water. Buses in the same fleet fitted with refrigerated air-con, reported that not only did the refrigerated systems fail to maintain passenger comfort, but most drivers were forced to turn the air-con off to avoid overheating, and a lack of radiator coolant ! (so much for the water argument). All the buses fitted with refrigerated systems, recorded fuel consumption increases, some as high as 70 gallons of extra diesel. In contrast, the bus fitted with evaporative, recorded no discernible fuel increase ! The environment is far better served by an infinitesimal increase in water vapour, than a huge increase in burned fossil fuel ! ( But, I haven't even mentioned the health benefits for the passengers.............:) As I say, although so far our prototypes have shown real promise for Automotive application, more work has yet to done, before commercialization.
          Marcopolo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          @ Rotation For a smart guy, you sometimes baffle me ! How do you get, "consuming water for cooling and increasing the local humidity" from "doesn't add humidity, and requires very little water" ? Do you really wish to argue that refrigerated air-conditioning is environmentally superior to evaporative cooling ? If not, then what the hell are talking about ?
          Rotation
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Let me explain Marco: Because evaporative cooling systems consume water, using the evaporation of it (enthalpy of vaporization) to cool. This puts more water into the air, increasing the local humidity. You want to say it minimizes the amount used. That's great. But if it uses zero, then it produces no cooling, so I assure you it's not using zero. Yes, I'm saying a closed loop compressor system is superior environmentally. It uses more power, but you can change your source of power to fix that. There are situations where evaporative systems are the only ones which can handle the load (power plant waste heat most notably), and I understand that. But that's just a necessity, not necessarily a green thing. How is consuming fresh water for your cooling environmentally good?
      floorman56
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought Idleair went bankrupt years ago
        q`Tzal
        • 1 Year Ago
        @floorman56
        They are still out there but you don't see a lot of them compared to the number of truck stops without them. Also I've seen a few installations that were started but never finished. The big problem is that they need to be ubiquitous. Better off slapping a big carbon tax on the fuel used and supplying bulk electrical connections for big trucks that will all have to be series hybrids soon enough anyways.
      paulwesterberg
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is a good system for trucks that are on the road now. New trucks should have fully electric internal heating/cooling pumps that way they would only need to be connected to 50A service like motorhomes plug into at full service campgrounds. This would allow trucks use newer drivetrains that include hybrid components, fuel cells, etc.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        You can make a more efficient system if the heat pump is stationary and larger. For example, you could have a geothermal heat pump. I would think this would be a big more compact and convenient if it used liquid to move the heat instead of air. That big pipe seems unnecessary.
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      Maybe they should put those solar reflectors over the windshields too if they are going to be sleeping during the day anyways. Plus it would cut down on the heat that the unit would have to reduce. But, yes, it is a good idea and the diesel use would add up to quite a bit over the course of a year, let alone 10 years. The problem is finding enough room for truck stops like this, since they usually pack them in pretty tight, or land costs are at a premium. If they used J1772 chargers, with everything built into the truck then regular EVs would have to compete for spots too... But, traveling across the country in an EV and finding a charger wouldn't be an issue.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Ryan
        Maybe it's not hot there, it's cold, and the sun is decreasing the heating needed. I think the J1772 idea is a good one. Trucks and EVs should have J1772s on them for power input. I don't think truck stops would be happy to have EVs taking their spots though.
      • 1 Year Ago
      IdleAir provides more than just air and power. It also provides cable TV, phone and internet connections to the truck. The only part about this article that is confusing is the very first sentence "Chevrolet is ready to introduce the coolest thing to happen to big-rig trucking since..." Introduce? Not quite. I remember using the IdleAir service at truck stops back in 2006-7. The were popping up everywhere at that time. I wouldn't say that Chevrolet is introducing anything. Perhaps that are going to start promoting it, meaning the IdleAir system will have the Bowtie plastered all over it, but you cant introduce a product that was successfully deployed over six years ago. Can you?
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        Yep. I remember seeing stories on them 3 years ago. Chevy is investing in it and promoting it. That's nice. But they aren't inventing it. There is absolutely no use for a phone connection anymore and internet surely would come over WiFi more cheaply and easily.
          q`Tzal
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Most of these truck stops are charging around $1.50~$2.00 for an hour of WiFi or $4~$5 for a full 24 hours. Unless you've been boned by you cellular data provider using your phone for a WiFi hot stop is infinitely cheaper.
      Doug
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is an old idea that's been around for a while. I agree that modern trucks should have electric compressors so the AC can simply run on electricity. Then all you have to do is run power to each truck. Perhaps have this system at one section of the truck stop and simple electric hookups at another. The older trucks that need the complicated system should pay more for it.
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      This seems ridiculous. An 8-hour sleep would cost ~$32, according to this article. IIRC, the truckers for whom I provided small business/tax services, were on the road around 200 days a year, and they rarely ever slept in lodging. Idling/Sleeping cost them around $6,400 a year. How much battery storage and regenerative tech can you buy for that kind of money? Tap the brakes and coast downhill a few times and you have a fully-charged system that works anywhere. A flatscreen can be run all night on 1kwh. An inefficient window-unit can run for an hour with 1kw. This seems like one of the best applications for on-board electricity storage I can think of.
      Jmaister
      • 1 Year Ago
      very nice. and how much would it cost?
    • Load More Comments