Automotive Electronics

Ultracapacitors Keep Snow Plow Drivers Warm without Engine Idling

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. announced today that it is supplying ultracapacitor-based Engine Start Modules (ESM) to Idle Free Systems, Inc., a leader in anti-idling solutions for the trucking industry, to provide cranking power for a new anti-idling system into vocational markets across North America to include snow plow, utility, delivery and other work trucks. Designed specifically for the day cab or work truck market, the Work Truck No Idle Heat System™ from Idle Free Systems provides up to eight hours of interior cab heat with the truck engine turned off, eliminating unnecessary workday idling.

The system uses a coolant heater to provide engine heat and interior cab heat, and provides 12-V electrical power for work truck functions, such as running lights or communication systems. A Maxwell ESM is integrated into the system to ensure reliable starting if the truck batteries don’t have enough cranking power to start the engine.

“This no idle system saves fuel and reduces emissions and maintenance expense associated with unnecessary idling,” said Robert Hopton, CEO of Idle Free Systems. “Operators can run their heat, lights and communications devices without idling their trucks, and the Maxwell ESM ensures power for reliable all-weather re-starts when batteries are weak.”

The Maxwell ESM fits into any truck battery box that has more than one industry standard group 31 battery. Replacing one battery with an ESM reduces the overall weight of the truck by approximately 42 pounds. The ESM delivers the quick-burst power large diesel engines need to crank in extreme weather, down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

“For truck drivers who work in freezing weather, run sleeper loads on batteries, or sit in line at weigh stations with anti-idle laws, the limitations of batteries for cranking power are all-too familiar,” said Jeremy Cowperthwaite, vice president and general manager of Maxwell’s Engine Start Group. “The fuel savings realized through idle elimination and reduction of jump starts typically provides a return on investment in less than a year.”

Idle Free Systems Work Truck No Idle Heat System will debut on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Pennsylvania, a state where some areas can get up to 113 inches of snow each year, is equipping its fleet of snowplows with the new system. In Pennsylvania, as with most snowplow operations, trucks are deployed and then idle for hours prior to a storm hitting in order to be prepared to service roads as soon as snow starts to fall. While waiting to be released to start plowing, a driver is required to be on location, in the truck and therefore needs heat for comfort, the lights on for safety as well as operating communication equipment to stay in contact with headquarters. The Idle Free system will enable the fleet to handle all those needs without the cost and environmental impact of idling the truck.

"When bad weather is in the forecast, our snowplows are deployed and stand idling, waiting for the first snowflake to fall," says Pennsylvania Turnpike Director of Maintenance, Todd Garrison. "Installing the Work Truck No Idle Heat System will help keep our employees comfortable while eliminating needless idling and reducing emissions. With the fuel savings we see, it will also help stretch our winter maintenance budget."

Maxwell Technologies Inc. , Idle Free Systems, Inc.
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