Auxiliary Power Units

The commercial trucking industry, which contributes significantly to CO2 emissions worldwide, has undertaken considerable measures to lessen its environmental impact. A vital component of these measures is the attention on APUs that cater to the heating and air conditioning needs of trucks. These APUs often necessitate idling the vehicle engine, resulting in excess fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.


  • The Importance of APUs in the Trucking Industry: APUs are vital to the trucking industry, primarily serving to maintain comfortable cabin temperatures for drivers during rest periods. However, the traditional APUs necessitate idling the vehicle engine, which translates into high fuel consumption and increased CO2 emissions. In this context, the development of more efficient APUs is a pressing concern for the industry.
  • Previous Attempts at Improving APUs: Prior attempts at enhancing APU efficiency primarily revolved around fuel optimization techniques and partial electrification. However, these measures only provided incremental improvements and were insufficient to meet increasing environmental standards and sustainability goals.


Recent Advancements in APU Technology

Several key recent advancements in APU technology have made it possible to drastically reduce fuel consumption and emissions. They include:

  • Battery-Powered APUs: Battery-powered APUs leverage high-capacity batteries to power heating and air conditioning systems. They eliminate the need for idling the vehicle engine and offer a zero-emissions solution.
  • Hybrid APUs: Hybrid APUs integrate a small combustion engine with an electric system, resulting in substantially reduced fuel consumption compared to traditional APUs.
  • Fuel Cell-Based APUs: Fuel cell-based APUs utilize hydrogen as a fuel source, converting it into electricity and emitting only water as a byproduct. These APUs offer an extremely clean alternative to traditional systems.
  • Smart-Technology-Enabled APUs: Smart APUs leverage Internet of Things (IoT) technology to enable intelligent operation. They can adjust operation based on external temperature, battery charge level, and other factors, improving overall efficiency.


Sustainability Implications of Advanced APU Technologies

The adoption of advanced APU technologies offers significant potential to reduce the environmental impact of the trucking industry. The use of these technologies can lead to substantial reductions in emissions and fuel consumption. Furthermore, these technologies can also contribute to public health by reducing air pollution.

Total Cost of Ownership Implications

While the initial cost of advanced APU technologies can be higher than traditional systems, they can lead to lower operating costs due to reduced fuel consumption. In addition, financial incentives such as tax credits and grants can further offset the initial investment, making these technologies more cost-effective over the long term. A thorough analysis of these cost implications is essential for fleet owners and operators.


The recent advancements in APU technology have the potential to drastically reduce the environmental impact and improve the cost-efficiency of the commercial trucking industry. Continued innovation and adoption of these technologies are crucial for achieving sustainability targets and ensuring the industry’s long-term viability.