ORLANDO. There’s a new concept for auxiliary power units (APUs) heading to the commercial truck market: a hybrid APU that connects a battery-based no-idle system to a small diesel generator so the batteries can remain fully charged. Thus the APU is fully operational without ever having to turn on the truck’s engine.
Bergstrom Inc. and generator maker Kohler have joined forces to make the hybrid APU a reality and unveiled it here at the Technology & Maintenance Council annual meeting. Bill Gordon, Bergstrom director of global marketing, said his company’s Nite battery-based no-idle system is being linked to a 4.7-hp Kohler generator to bring what he calls “the best of both worlds” to the APU market.
“Our system is designed to run for 11 hours – but if you are stuck somewhere for a few days, what then?” Gordon said. “With the inclusion of the Kohler generator, you only need to run it for 2.5 hours to fully recharge the four deep-cycle AGM batteries that power our system – a quieter option than operating the truck’s engine, and consuming 0.1 gallons per hour as opposed to the one to 1.2 gallons per hour the truck engine uses.”
Gordon said the Kohler generator weighs 110 lbs. and is the “size of a suitcase” for easy packaging on a commercial truck alongside Bergstrom’s 480 lb. Nite system. Though pricing hasn’t been established, Gordon expects it to cost as much as a large APU. Bergstrom is taking orders for the hybrid APU now, with deliveries expected by June.
Gordon stressed that the hybrid nature of this APU should increase its expected life cycle substantially. “A full-sized diesel APU typically lasts 1,500 to 2,000 hours if they are running all the time,” he said. “But if you’re running the diesel engine just a couple hours every few weeks to recharge batteries as with our new hybrid system, that’s a totally different life-cycle calculation.”