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.
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.
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.