Truck HVAC System drives engine accessories electrically.

Press Release Summary:

MorElectric System provides electrically powered heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system, allowing all HVAC components to be removed from engine compartment. Electric power comes from 7,300 W generator that replaces alternator. When coupled with Auxiliary Power Unit, system provides driver with comfortable cab environment when main engine is off. Using Shore Power, truck is plugged into pedestal at truck stop, providing low emission idling solution.

Original Press Release:

MorElectric Technology Can Reduce Truck Fuel Consumtion by up to 1,260 Gallons per Year

Recent Caterpillar and DOE Tests Confirm Savings

The focus on the noise and emissions effects of idling vehicles continues to grow in many states and communities, drawing even more attention to the economic and environmental issues related to wasteful, diesel engine idling. Studies indicate the average U.S. long haul truck engine idles over 1,800 hours annually. At an average fuel consumption of 0.9 gallons per hour, this translates to the fact that more than a billion dollars of diesel fuel is consumed each year simply to provide the driver with a comfortable cab during required rest periods. Now Caterpillar offers an alternative to idling, known as the MorElectric System.

Recently, at one of the trucking industry's largest conferences, the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC), the US Department of Energy's (DOE) Advanced Vehicle Testing Activity and Caterpillar reviewed some of the early results from tests completed on five Cox Transfer trucks under a DOE Idling Reduction Demonstration Program overseen by DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory and managed by DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory. Ongoing testing of Caterpillar's MorElectric Technology will continue through 2005 on fleets from Cox Transfer, Schneider National, Werner Enterprises, and others, as part of DOE's Office of FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technology and New York State sponsored technology demonstration programs.

Using the same technology that is advancing the development of hybrid automobiles, the MorElectric System involves driving engine accessories electrically versus being belt or gear driven. The MorElectric System provides an electrically powered heating, ventilating and air-conditioning (HVAC) system. It allows all HVAC components to be removed from the engine compartment. The electric power for the HVAC system comes from a 7,300-watt, high-efficiency generator that replaces the alternator. This base system (HVAC + generator) has twice the reliability and durability of today's automotive-based systems it replaces, and provides up to a two percent improvement in on-road fuel economy. This improvement comes from the higher efficiency of the MorElectric System components and from eliminating operation of the radiator fan for A/C purposes.

With an electric HVAC unit on-board, the MorElectric System can then be leveraged to offer two cost-effective idling reduction solutions: an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) and plug-in Shore Power. One idle management solution couples the base MorElectric System with a Caterpillar designed-and-powered variable-speed APU. With the truck parked and the main engine off, the APU powers the MorElectric HVAC unit providing the driver a comfortable cab environment in any ambient condition and with plenty of power to run appliances and maintain battery charge. Because the APU shares coolant with the main engine cooling system, typical concerns about starting a diesel engine in cold weather are eliminated. This APU option provides a total fuel economy improvement of up to eight percent compared to conventional HVAC systems that require a truck's main engine remain idling to maintain cab comfort.

Test data results and analysis of truck industry operations offer a good prediction of the impact this technology could have on North American truck fleets. A summary of the Feb. 16th tests indicate:
o MorElectric APU seasonally averaged fuel consumption is 0.2 gallons per hour which represents a 0.7 gal/hr fuel savings over conventional engine idling during rest periods.
o This 0.7 gal/hr fuel savings can save 630 to 1,260 gallons per year per truck.
o At $2.00/gal and over 5 years, a MorElectric APU can reduce fuel costs by $6,300 to $12,600 per truck plus reduces our dependence on foreign oil.

The other solution couples the base MorElectric System with a feature known as "Shore Power." Shore Power allows a truck to be plugged into a pedestal, similar to a travel trailer plugging in at a campground. Already New York, California and a few other states are installing these pedestals in some rest areas and truck stops as part of a nationwide initiative known as Truck Stop Electrification (TSE). TSE provides a low cost and a very low emissions idling solution, but it can only be used by vehicles equipped with an electric HVAC system. This idling reduction option can provide a total fuel economy improvement of up to ten percent when compared to a truck with a conventional HVAC system that requires main engine idling to maintain cab comfort. A summary of MorElectric System benefits includes:
o It reduces fuel and emissions by up to two percent during on-road operations.
o It significantly improves the durability of two historically problem-prone areas, the air-conditioning system and the alternator.
o With an electric HVAC system on-board, two cost effective idling solutions are available - the APU and also Shore Power.
o The APU option provides up to an additional six percent fuel and emissions savings.
o The Shore Power option provides an additional eight percent fuel and emissions savings.
o It improves driver cab climate in any ambient condition.
o It reduces emissions and noise at truck/rest stops by reduced main engine idling.

"Caterpillar believes that the MorElectric Technology offers the trucking industry viable idle management solutions with important benefits to the customer and to the environment," says David Orr, Cat Electronics MorElectric Commercial Manager. "The MorElectric System is an intelligent and integrated idle management solution which helps fleet owners save money, improve engine and accessory reliability and durability, and improve cab comfort in any ambient condition."

More information about the Cat MorElectric System can be found at Click on MorElectric to view the e-Brief presentation and find additional information.

About Caterpillar
For more than 75 years, Caterpillar Inc. has been building the world's infrastructure and, in partnership with its worldwide dealer network, is driving positive and sustainable change on every continent. With 2004 sales and revenues of $30.25 billion, Caterpillar is a technology leader and the world's leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, clean diesel aijid natural gas engines and industrial gas turbines. More information is available a
For more product information, customers should contact their local Caterpillar dealer or visit the Cat web site at

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