Kenworth News

Kenworth Idle Management System Provides Two Carriers Cost-Effective Alternative to APUs

Fuel Cost Savings Pay for System in Less than a Year

It's a simple concept: store power generated by the truck's engine while driving, and use it later to keep the driver cool during a rest period.

HillCrest Transportation and Peters Brothers have found that specifying the new Kenworth Idle Management System - available for the Kenworth T680 76-inch sleeper - saves money and keeps long-haul drivers comfortable with engine-off cooling and heating during off-duty rest periods and wait times at depots.


The factory-installed Kenworth Idle Management System stores power from the Kenworth T680's engine in four dedicated PACCAR batteries to provide air conditioning directly through the Kenworth T680's ducting system during the driver's rest period. An optional fuel-fired heater provides full engine-off heating capability.

The AC system's small under-bunk footprint maintains storage space for drivers and passengers. Full on-board controls in the sleeper allow the driver to control both cooling and heating. And an LCD display provides the driver full system information to monitor remaining battery power. The batteries recharge to 90 percent capacity in as little as 4-1/2 hours.


HillCrest Transportation operates seven and Peters Brothers four Kenworth T680 76-inch sleepers with the Kenworth Idle Management System.

"While using a diesel-powered APU produces fewer pollutants than idling the truck engine, it's not pollutant-free, which is an important factor in meeting our shippers' criteria for operating more environmentally-friendly," said John Edmunds, president and CEO of HillCrest Transportation. The Petersburg, Va.-based transportation services company has chemical, long-distance waste hauling and dry van truckload hauling divisions, and a combined fleet of about 60 trucks, mostly Kenworths.


From left, John Edmunds, president and CEO of HillCrest Transportation, and HillCrest Transportation driver James Savage stand beside one of the company's Kenworth T680s with the new Kenworth Idle Management System. 

"The Kenworth Idle Management System provides a more environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternative to APUs," Edmunds said. "The system helps us avoid maintenance costs associated with a diesel-powered APU engine. And, by combining this technology with the fuel economy performance of the T680 and the PACCAR MX-13 engine, we save even more money."

HillCrest's Kenworth T680s delivered a 1.5 mile per gallon improvement in fuel economy over the performance of the trucks they replaced. Edmunds attributes a 0.5 mpg of that improvement to the Kenworth Idle Management System.

Since trucks in the HillCrest Transportation dry-van division run about 120,000 miles annually, and the company has been paying on average close to $4 per gallon for diesel fuel across the country, the 0.5 mpg improvement translates into an annual savings of nearly $7,400, Edmunds said. "That annual savings more than pays for the cost of the system," he added.


Peters Brothers' company officials also wanted an alternative to APUs because of the expense and logistical challenge of maintaining a second engine on the truck.

Peters Brothers, a coast-to-coast refrigerated trucking company with a fleet of 60 trucks domiciled at terminals in Lenhartsville, Pa., and Jefferson, Wis., operates its trucks throughout the country, hauling dairy products, fresh mushrooms and frozen foods. Each of its trucks travels about 120,000 miles annually.


Gerald Peters, owner of Peters Brothers, with one of his Kenworth T680s equipped with the new Kenworth Idle Management System.

Generally, Peters Brothers' drivers go out for a week to 10 days. Although they don't spend extended amounts of time in their trucks, they travel in the hottest regions of the country - the South and the Southwest including Arizona and California, said Brian Wanner, general manager for Peters Brothers. With stringent no-idling restrictions in the states they travel, drivers need an alternative to idling their trucks to stay comfortable during their rest periods, he added. Providing them that option is a priority.

"The Kenworth Idle Management System provides them the same amount of comfort they get with APUs," Wanner said. "The system maintains the temperature at a comfortable level for a full rest period even in the hottest weather. It recharges quickly. And before the weather turned warmer, our drivers used the fuel-fired heaters and they worked great."

Both Wanner and Edmunds said they're both pleased with the performance of the Kenworth T680.

"The PACCAR MX-13 engine has performed well for us," Edmunds said. "Some drivers are already getting 7.1 to 7.2 mpg with the T680. Since our trucks in the dry van operation pull fully loaded boxes in both directions, getting that kind of fuel economy, particularly when we were struggling to get better than 5 mpg with other trucks on the same routes, is pretty phenomenal. Each T680 is saving us more than $20,000 per year in fuel costs."*

Edmunds said the Kenworth T680 has so impressed him that he intends to buy 10 more Kenworth T680s with the Kenworth Idle Management System this year and make the combination the company's preferred specification.

Wanner is also pleased with how much his company's drivers enjoy driving them. "Our drivers love the room and quietness of the T680," Wanner said. "They are very happy with its ride and the level of comfort it offers. I think it will be the truck of the future."

Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World's Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth's Internet home page is at Kenworth is a PACCAR company.

* Individual fuel economy improvement will vary depending on use, road conditions and other factors.