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Product Spotlight: In-cab comforts for your drivers

April 15, 2024
A look at the latest in-cab comfort options from 12 companies that help drivers enjoy living on the road.

Carrier Transicold  

Introduced in 2023, the Aspen diesel APU from Carrier Transicold delivers reliable cab climate control and electricity for hotel loads without idling the truck engine. The Aspen APU produces 12,000 BTU/h of cooling and has a standard electric heater and an optional fuel-fired cabin heater. Its generator provides high-grade power for appliances and electronics, and an optional inverter can maintain hotel loads via the truck when it is moving. For added fuel savings, Aspen APU can connect to 115V shore power when the truck is parked, eliminating the need to run the APU engine. Standard feature sets include Battery Monitor mode to maintain battery charge, Winter Watch mode for engine preheating, and Manual Programming mode to automate functions based on user presets. The interface is as easy to use as a home thermostat. Carrier’s North American dealer network supports Aspen APU.

Daimler Truck North America 

Freightliner Plus Series and Western Star X-Series models now offer the factory-installed Backup Alert System, which includes a 7-inch interactive touchscreen display, backup camera, and reverse proximity sensor for driver comfort and productivity. The touchscreen display supports Bluetooth connection for media devices and phone calls and a wired connection for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The display unit is integrated into the truck’s design, which provides easy accessibility of steering wheel controls to answer phone calls and volume control. The system also comes with a camera and reverse sensor. Drivers can have the added visibility without having to interact with the display unit. The Backup Alert System is designed to increase driver productivity by offering drivers hands-free control of calls, navigation, as well as added rear visibility. 

Dragonfly Energy

Dragonfly Energy's Battle Born All-Electric solution, powered by lithium-ion batteries, provides capacity for an extended run time of appliances and amenities required for safety, operations, and comfort when auxiliary power is needed. According to the company, the product's high capacity virtually eliminates the need for jump starts and auto-starts, providing users a sense of security while reducing the risk of unexpected interruptions. The Battle Born All-Electric APUs are designed to power hotel loads more efficiently and sustainably. They help to cut fuel costs, reduce emissions, and enhance driver comfort.

Eberspaecher  

Eberspaecher says its parking heaters create a pleasant working climate in the truck, even in frosty temperatures. With the Airtronic air heaters from Eberspaecher, the air in the truck interior is heated and distributed throughout the vehicle via individually positioned air outlets. The Airtronic is suitable for heating bunks and larger cargo areas quickly and efficiently. Due to the low fuel and power consumption, the interior temperature can be kept constant over a longer period. By integrating it into the truck's coolant circuit, the Eberspaecher Hydronic S3 can preheat the engine while stationary and heat the entire vehicle interior simultaneously. According to the company, there is no need for ice-scraping or idling engines to keep warm; the vehicle is pleasantly tempered as soon as you get into it.

EpicVue 

EpicVue+ builds on the success of the EpicVue in-cab satellite TV service by providing a comprehensive entertainment, engagement, and educational platform for commercial truck fleets now on a cellular network. This offering optimizes recruiting and retention by enabling communication and providing the ability to entertain by allowing drivers to watch or record TV in their trucks with more than 100 channels of live programming, premium services, and a library of on-demand content. It provides drivers with training and education to implement best practices and reinforce compliance by managing content distribution or enabling access to online training. A custom home screen branded for each carrier along with a dedicated fleet channel distributes company announcements and fleet news, promotes incentives to reward drivers for performance, and acknowledges standout employees.  EpicVue+ is easily implemented with self-install or professional options for in-cab equipment designed to sustain the impact of life on the road. 

Isuzu

Isuzu improved the angle and position of its steering wheels to provide a better fit for a wider variety of drivers. Its smaller diameter means easier handling. There are steering wheel-mounted controls for the multi-information display, audio system, cruise control, and hands-free phone calling. A new 7-in. color multi-information display is standard equipment on every 2025 N-Series diesel truck, featuring an array of gauges and functions, including warning lights, status of driver-assistance features, time and temperature, odometer, fuel level, and shift position. The MID has been designed to minimize eye movements to maximize driver comfort and safety. New electronic climate controls make operation intuitive, and drivers will appreciate the variable intermittent windshield wipers. 

Drivers and passengers will enjoy the new seat design. To enhance comfort, the driver’s seat back is 30 millimeters higher than prior N-Series seats for taller drivers, while the hip points of the driver and outboard passenger have been lowered 10 millimeters. To reduce fatigue, the driver’s seat now features an armrest. Four cupholders will easily accommodate 500ml-size water bottles. Other interior enhancements include brighter LED interior lighting, larger overhead console, new cardholder clip, and a newly designed passenger tray.   

Kenworth

The Kenworth T180, T280, T380, and T480 models bring a premium feel and user-friendly layout to the work truck market. The interior layout is designed to accommodate drivers of all sizes, with large ranges of adjustability. Customers can select from a multitude of seating options that are configurable with high- or medium-back seats and passenger bench seats that provide a comfortable ride for up to three people. The new Kenworth premium seats are offered with 3-inch tailored foam, 9-degree increased recline, air lumbar, and 40% decrease in play. The 7-inch digital display is integrated with advanced driver assistance systems bringing safety directly to the driver. The automatic climate control keeps your crew at the perfect operating temperature. When the optional Kenworth SmartWheel is specified, drivers can manage the display’s settings, cruise control, radio functions, and more.

Mack   

In the Mack Anthem, spacious cabs, premium materials, exclusive seats, ample storage, and efficient environmental systems contribute to driver comfort. Anthem’s Gold Comfort Package features Elite Trim for a sharp look, heated Ultraleather seats, a powerful Mack MP engine, and mDRIVE automated transmission for all-day comfort. Dash switches are within reach, and the leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel has automotive-style controls for frequently used features. Anthem’s ceiling height allows drivers to stand in the cab and walk to the sleeper. Available with single or double bunks, the 70-inch sleeper provides comfort for long-haul trips. A factory-installed electric auxiliary power unit powers a high-performance climate control system that offers drivers quiet hours. It runs off of its batteries, so there is no need to idle the engine at night, saving fuel and reducing noise.

Minimizer 

Designed to help eliminate in-cab corrosion, Minimizer’s line of custom-molded floor mats makes it easy for fleets to keep the inside of their trucks clean. These laser-measured floor mats use a tray system to keep any mess where it belongs—on the mat and off the floor. According to the company, the mats are also specific to a truck’s year, make, and model, and fleets can save money by purchasing in bulk. Minimizer manufactures its custom-molded floor mats with a proprietary material with a lifetime guarantee.

Navistar 

Navistar says its International LT 73-inch Skyrise series with Diamond Elite trim provides fleets with elegance and comfort. Increased pivoting action with premium-level seats offers quick and easy access to the sleeper compartment. It features a foldable/stowable upper sleeper bunk with comfortable foam mattress. The factory-installed, no-idle battery-powered solution allows operators to refrain from engine idling by using an alternative power source to heat or cool the cab. This system provides clean, quiet, and cost-effective heating and cooling while also giving the driver all the creature comforts they are looking for.

Peterbilt 

Peterbilt  says its Model 579 UltraLoft provides a relaxing environment for living life on the road. The spacious interior includes larger dash switches, large cupholders with storage, a smart steering wheel with audio/phone and cruise controls, dual USB chargers, and LED lighting. The 15-inch digital display provides truck system information with a configurable interface and integrates advanced driver assistance systems technology, including adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist. The 80-inch UltraLoft sleeper offers 8 feet of headroom, 70 cu. ft. of storage, and large mattresses. It can accommodate up to a 32-inch TV and a 1.1 cu.-ft. microwave. Sleeper features include sound abatement technology, independent HVAC with separate controls, optional fuel-fired heater, and multiple no-idle hoteling options.

Volvo

An addition to the VNL’s idle management offerings is Volvo’s new integrated parking cooler. This integrated option uses battery energy to power the cab’s HVAC system when parked. According to the company, the cooler can eliminate idling overnight for up to eight hours and is perfect for VNL sleeper models. Volvo’s parking cooler is quiet because it features a chassis-mounted compressor instead of placing it on the cab itself. The parking cooler offers automatic restart, so the batteries remain properly charged, regardless of use. The fully integrated system requires minimal driver input and can be controlled from the driving or living environment. Set the desired temperature at the beginning of an off-duty cycle, and the system maintains the cabin settings until it’s time to drive again. In addition to the integrated parking cooler, Volvo Trucks also has two idle-free parking heater options.

About the Author

Jenna Hume | Digital Editor

Digital Editor Jenna Hume previously worked as a writer in the gaming industry. She has a bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing from Truman State University and a master of fine arts degree in writing from Lindenwood University. She is currently based in Missouri. 

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