eAPU is now a factory-installed option for the Mack Anthem® sleeper
When it comes to truck driver comfort, Mack Trucks has made a long-term and intense commitment that is demonstrated by its spacious cabs, use of premium materials, exclusive seats, additional storage and other sleeper amenities.
“We understand that in the long haul segment the truck is actually the driver’s home, they usually spend more nights in the truck than in their own house, so we are continuously working to make our trucks as comfortable as they can be and to add all possible creature comforts that will make life on the road easier,” says Fernado Couceiro, Mack’s vice president of highway products.
Mack recently added one more item to its suite of driver comfort features — a factory-installed electric Auxiliary Power Unit (eAPU) for its 70-inch Mack Anthem sleeper model.
Mack chose the Phillips & Temro IdleFree 5000 eAPU as its offering because its high-performing electric cooling capacity provides drivers with hours of uninterrupted rest time. “This is very important to drivers when it is hot and they are spending the night in their cabs,” Couceiro says.
The unit can keep the temperature in the cab at about 73°F for seven to nine hours when outdoor temperatures are in the 90°F-to-95°F range. It features a three-speed evaporator fan to direct the airflow to the sleeper without duct work. This means the unit is quieter than diesel-powered APUs. It also runs on its own batteries, so there is no risk that it will pull energy from the truck’s main batteries.
The IdleFree unit keeps drivers cool while operating both quietly and free from vibration, an improvement over idling the truck’s main engine, which tends to vibrate during operation. The eAPU also avoids restrictions on truck idling, which means the system can be used in more circumstances than diesel APUs.
Data indicates drivers increasingly have eAPUs on their wish lists of truck features. A recent CCJ survey of more than 800 company drivers found that 56% of the surveyed drivers said that APUs were an important truck feature. Only special seats with comfort features, at 67%, scored higher. Even having a late model truck or a larger sleeper scored lower than the eAPU.
While driver comfort was the main reason for adding the eAPU, Couceiro says there are other benefits. With many driver comfort items, it can be difficult to place a monetary value on the benefit of the technology. “If your drivers have a better seat, they will be happier, but how do you translate that into a dollar amount?” Couceiro asks.
With eAPUs the calculation is easy. Couceiro gave the following example using these assumptions:
- A truck runs 260 days of the year.
- For half of those days — 130 — temperatures are high enough that the driver needs air conditioning over the night.
- The eAPU will run for 7 hours.
- An idling diesel engine consumes 5 to 6 gallons in a 7-hour period.
- A gallon of diesel costs $4.50.
Based on those assumptions, the truck would use 5.5 gallons of diesel while idling and cost the fleet approximately $25 per truck per night. “If you multiply that by 130 nights, fleets will see a savings of $3,250 per truck per year,” Couceiro explains. “If a fleet keeps its trucks for five years, the fuel savings over the life of the vehicle is $16,250.”
The financial benefit of the eAPU does not stop there. Couceiro says that a truck equipped with an eAPU may be worth more on the used truck market.
The final benefit of the eAPU is that it produces fewer emissions, which is also very important to the environment. Couceiro says the 5.5 gallons of fuel saved over the 7-hour period a driver is using the eAPU rather than idling the engine, can result in up to 10% less tailpipe emissions.
The availability of the factory-installed eAPU is just one more way Mack is showing drivers it cares about their comfort and the environment.