Contract Freighters announced plans to spec the Kenworth Clean Power System on future truck orders. “The Kenworth Clean Power System will likely become a standard spec for our company’s trucks,” says Bruce Stockton, vice president of maintenance for CFI, which has a fleet of more than 2,100 company-owned tractors.
Wednesday, March 22 at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky, Kenworth announced the Kenworth Clean Power System, a battery-powered climate control system with the capability to provide engine-off heating and cooling, plus 110v “hotel load” power to drivers for a full 10 hours.
“With diesel fuel at $2.50 per gallon, we expect the Kenworth Clean Power System to significantly reduce our fuel costs through reduced idling,” says Stockton. “Not only does it appear that the system will be cost-effective from an economic standpoint, we are confident that our drivers will love it. For us, the Kenworth Clean Power System makes complete business sense.” Stockton projects CFI’s idle time should be no more than 20 percent of total engine hours once the fleet is fully converted.
Stockton says even if diesel fuel costs were $1.50 per gallon, federal and state anti-idling regulations and the need to provide for driver comfort also are driving the company’s decision. “Our industry has a responsibility to help clean up the air and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” he says. “It’s why we became a member of the U.S. EPA’s SmartWay program early on – we want to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem.”
Stockton says that idling has been a hot topic for transportation managers and he’s excited to see headway from truck OEMs. “What we really like is that the Kenworth system is capable of running a full 10 hours without recharging,” says Stockton. “That’s long enough for a driver’s off-duty cycle.”
Stockton says the company has tried aftermarket solutions and has equipped trucks with fuel-fired heaters. “This has cut our idling down to about 20 percent during cold months,” he says. “While that’s great, it’s only part of the equation. We need a cooling system too – an integrated solution. The aftermarket cooling solutions we’ve tried have not been durable enough for a truck environment and they could not run a full 10 hours.”
Stockton says CFI also prefers to spec their trucks with OEM-installed systems like the Kenworth Clean Power System because they’re easier to schedule for routine maintenance and because they’re more durable and reliable. Since the Kenworth Clean Power System also provides AC power, truck drivers can plug in their personal appliances. Stockton says the AC power supply feature will be popular among company drivers, many of whom now pay for company-installed inverters.
“Our industry has never been successful in convincing drivers to buy 12-volt appliances,” Stockton says. “They’re more expensive and not as readily available as traditional household appliances. We feel drivers want an AC power infrastructure and this system delivers.”