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idling laws

Power up before anti-idling laws stall your fleet

Feb. 20, 2024
Lithium-powered electric APUs could help the trucking industry handle anti-idling laws.

Stay ahead or get left behind. This adage rings true now more than ever as anti-idling laws gain momentum nationwide.

Today, long-haul trucking stands at a crossroads: Comply with regulations and risk driver discomfort or fines and disruption by idling. But what if there was a third option where compliance and comfort could coexist? Lithium-powered all-electric APUs could be the solution the industry is looking for.

The state of anti-idling laws in the U.S.

The trucking industry, integral to global commerce, grapples with the rising traction of nationwide anti-idling laws. More than two dozen states and many municipalities have already passed anti-idling regulations to help curb the health and environmental hazards of diesel truck idling.

According to the Transportation Environmental Resource Center:

  • Truck idling consumes more than one billion gallons of diesel fuel annually.
  • This results in the emission of over 11 million tons of carbon dioxide and more than 180,000 tons of nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter, and other harmful air toxins.

Anti-idling laws aim for cleaner air and lower fuel use but put fleets in a bind. Drivers need rest, but idling means fines in many jurisdictions. From Arizona summers to citizen enforcement programs, inconsistent regulations create a logistical and financial burden.

Ignoring the shift to an anti-idling landscape will subject fleet owners and their operations to disruptions, fines, confusion, and unhappy professional drivers. Anti-idling laws are not going away, challenging our trucking industry to adopt a cost-effective and cost-efficient compliance solution now.

See also: How to keep drivers cool this summer without idling

Traditional anti-idling technologies fall short

Optimizing power while upholding compliance with anti-idling regulations presents a key challenge for long-haul trucking. Traditional solutions often fail to meet hotel load demands, hindering efforts to eliminate idling.

Engine auto start/stop:

  • Comfort: Constant restarts in extreme weather may disrupt temperature control.
  • Disruption: Frequent engine cycles can interrupt driver rest.
  • Cost: Increases fuel consumption and requires more frequent maintenance.

Diesel APUs:

  • Price: Higher upfront cost compared to other options.
  • Maintenance: Requires regular system servicing.
  • Pollution: Emits noise and air pollutants, even while idling.

Electric APUs using AGM batteries:

  • Battery drain: Leaving the inverter on the starting batteries can drain their power.
  • Weight: Requires multiple heavy batteries, reducing payload capacity.
  • Longevity: AGM batteries require frequent replacement (typically every two years).

Turn the tide of anti-idling laws

Because lithium-ion battery advancements over the last several years have focused not only on EVs but diverged to address other transportation energy issues, a solution, all-electric APUs powered by lithium-ion batteries, has emerged as a growing trend to eliminate idling and its associated challenges. This technology creates a dedicated "house bank" for sleeper cabs, separate from the main truck battery, ensuring reliable power and driver comfort while virtually eliminating idling. Furthermore, lithium batteries offer enhanced reliability, longevity, and power output, leading to improved operational efficiency and cost savings for fleets.

Lithium-ion all-electric APU systems:

  • Save on fuel costs; more money to the fleet's bottom line
  • Reduce maintenance cycle; increased uptime for the operator
  • Reduce harmful emissions during idle rest periods
  • Enhance sleeper cab driver comfort
  • Eliminate the need for auto starts and stops
  • Improve environmental sustainability

Lastly, an all-electric APU system eliminates many of the compliance and significant penalty fine issues fleet operations face with the proliferation of anti-idling laws.

Striving to stay ahead and not get left behind is a worthy goal. Embrace the opportunity to overcome anti-idling laws with new eco-friendly solutions.

About the Author

Wade Seaburg

As Chief Revenue Officer, Wade Seaburg leads Dragonfly Energy’s sales, business development, and revenue growth and diversification efforts. He is an industry veteran who has proven long-term success serving high-volume OEMs across various markets.  Most recently, Seaburg used his diverse skill set to bring valuable power solutions to the heavy-duty trucking industry and introduce the Battle Born All-Electric APU, a custom solution built to provide ample power for trucking hotel loads.

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