WASHINGTON. It's estimated that a typical highway tractor can spend up to 40% of its useful life idling – most of it done while not under way, but to power the truck's heating and cooling systems so long-haul drivers are comfortable when off duty.
That results not only in a lot of wasted fuel, but also a lot of pollution, Josh Lupu, marketing services manager for Webasto Product North America, told FleetOwner. And he said that's why the company developed its BlueCool system; a bunk cooling system that, in addition to Webasto's Air Top 2000 and EVO devices, can keep the sleeper berth cool or warm, respectively, without running the truck's engine.
Webasto displayed fully functioning BlueCool and Air Top systems on a highway tractor in front of the U.S. Capitol as part of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association's (MEMA) annual legislative summit this week. Lupu told FleetOwner that Webasto's BlueCool product is noteworthy in that it uses special graphite blocks to provide bunk cooling for long periods.
Hank Keene, Webasto technical coordinator, noted that coolant surrounding the blocks is frozen during normal diesel engine operation. Then, once the engine is turned off, it helps keep the bunk area 25 degrees cooler than the outside temperature for hours at a time, since the graphite blocks help slow the "melting" of the coolant substantially.
"I've done my own tests with this in Atlanta, when the outside temperate reached 102 degrees," Keene told FleetOwner. "Even with people coming in and out of the truck all day long, it kept the bunk area at around 72 degrees for six hours."
Lupu noted that the BlueCool product – touted to lawmakers as an anti-idling device – only weighs a little over 300 lbs and requires minimum frame rail space for installation.