Manager: Alain Dube
Fleet: Transports Du Cam Pro, Montreal, Quebec
Operation: Specialized furniture hauler operating in Canada and the continental U.S.
It's not hard to imagine why a long-haul fleet based in Montreal would consider equipping its tractors with auxiliary power units (APUs).
Winters are mighty cold in Quebec, not to mention in much of the rest of Canada, making a device that efficiently helps keeps cabs comfortable year-round pretty desirable.
Transports Du Cam Pro's mostly sleeper-equipped trucks also run all over the Lower 48, where every trucker knows there are plenty of cold places, too. And of course, APUs will also power air conditioning for a cab and sleeper while parked on steamy days and nights anywhere in North America.
Besides being rightly concerned about boosting driver comfort, according to president Alain Dube, Transports Du Cam Pro recognized that a growing number of U.S. jurisdictions are barring or restricting diesel engine idling.
On top of that, like any savvy trucking operation, Dube says the fleet appreciates any way it can save fuel as well as economically extend equipment life.
To improve driver comfort and cut idling, Dube reports that about 30 of the fleet's 55 tractors are now equipped with APUs. His current unit of choice, based on actual performance in the fleet, is the Willis APU, which is supplied by Auxiliary Power Dynamics.
With an APU onboard, Dube says his drivers can simply turn off the truck's ignition and remain comfortable — and legally so — while waiting or resting.
Transports Du Cam Pro is also saving fuel, thanks to the APUs. Dube says that instead of burning up to a gallon of fuel each hour a truck idles, the Willis APU uses just a quart of fuel per hour. “At the current cost of fuel,” he remarks, “the units will pay for themselves in two to two-and-a-half years.
“The Willis APU is providing our fleet with many benefits,” he continues. “A major concern for us was how much air conditioning and heating APUs could generate for the comfort of our drivers.
“The Willis provides much more A/C and heat through the cab and sleeper than other units,” says Dube. The drivers also like them because the Willis APU's three-cylinder engine is quieter and more efficient than the other units we use.”
But the clincher for Dube is the positive impact on engine life. “The units are saving wear and tear on the Caterpillar C-15 engines we run in our tractors,” Dube says. “I was told by Caterpillar that for every hour the engine doesn't idle, you save the equivalent of 45 miles on the engine.
“Instead of trading our trucks at the end of five years,” he adds, “we'll be able to operate them another two to three years without having to rebuild the engines.”
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