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Home > Feature Articles > Logistics and Vehicle Fleet Management > Trucking & Logistics for Efficiency, Fuel Savings, and Air Quality

APUs Struggle to Meet CARB Standards for 2008

APU technology and California regulations affect idling, OEM and APU technology availability

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APUs for New/Used Trucks - California Law for 1-1-08

Any truck powered by a pre-2007 engine is exempt from the coming January 1 2008 California law regarding APU legality. Your APU will remain legal to use. The determining factor is when the truck engine was manufactured

BUT, your main engine idling time will be limited by the five-minute rule anywhere in California.

There's concern that the law is too far ahead of the technology. That APUs and idle upfits won't be tested and approved that meet the CARB requirements by the time the January 1, 2008 implementation date arrives. Here's an update based on OOIDA's survey of the CARB applications and supplier progress.

Rigmaster officials are confident their DPF filter will be approved and ready for installation by Jan. 1, 2008.

Cummins offers the ComfortGuard system manufactured by Cummins Onan. This may be the only APU to date certified to meet California requirements that also clears the EPA hurdles, but only when used with Cummins-powered trucks and ordered as a system from the OEM.

After Jan. 1, 2008, CARB will allow you to operate your APU on your 2007 or newer truck if you plumb the exhaust so it runs through your main engine’s DPF. That sounds simple enough, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has regulations that make it illegal to make any changes whatsoever to any system – including DPFs – once it has been EPA-certified.

Five Minute Idling Switch - California Law for 1-1-08

Another piece of California legislation, also adopted in 2005 and effective Jan. 1, 2008, requires that all new heavy duty trucks have an automatic engine shut-off device to limit idling to five minutes when parked.

Electric Alternatives

The policymakers at CARB seem to favor electric power sources, from either on-board or external sources such as deep-cycle, battery-powered, on-board devices and shore power.

Shore power, or truck-stop electrification as it is sometimes called, contrasts sharply with IdleAire, which is a pay-as you-go service requiring almost no financial investment to equip your truck. Generally all you need to hook up to IdleAire is a $10 window template.

IdleAire does require a substantial investment in infrastructure at truck stops or other locations. It also requires dedicated parking spaces, which may or may not be occupied by paying IdleAire customers.

Hybrid Solutions -- California Regulations

In California, fuel-fired heaters used on trucks with 2007 or newer engines must meet emissions standards specified in the state’s Low Emission Vehicle Program.

Hybrid units use a combination of electric-powered air conditioning, inverters, cold storage and fuel-fired heaters.

Electric climate control is considered low-polluting or zero-polluting, depending on the source of power generation.

Hybrid systems combine two or more energy sources for idle reduction, usually batteries or APUs for air conditioning and fuel-fired heaters for heat.

To date, only Espar has been certified to meet that standard, but its competitors are expected to announce certification soon.

Thermal storage systems route cooled air through special ducts from the truck’s air conditioner when the engine is running. The cooled air chills chemicals that effectively store the A/C output.

Truck OEMs

Truck OEMs such as Kenworth, Peterbilt and Mack offer HVAC devices that, because they are powered by deep cycle batteries, will be legal for use in California after the new rule for ’07 models and newer trucks goes into effect in January 2008.

Bergstrom’s NITE system using deep cycle batteries for air conditioning and Espar’s California certified fuel-fired heaters will also meet regulations.

Drivers have expressed concerns that batteries may lose sufficient power to cool effectively at extreme temperatures in the California desert.

The California Regulations

The new regulations don't just apply to vehicles sold or registered in California. It applies to ALL trucks picking up, delivering or just passing through, if the truck has an ’07 or newer engine.

The complete article was written by Paul Abelson, senior technical editor for OOIDA. Check it out: GET THE DETAILS

California standards specified in the California Low Emission Vehicle Program.

AB32 setting a mandatory legal target that the state has to reach 1990 emissions levels of carbon dioxide and other major greenhouse gases by 2020

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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