Today's Trucking

Here Comes the Sun: Does solar have a role as an alternative fuel?

April 13, 2018 by John Smith

TORONTO, Ont. — In some corners of North America, the idea of adding solar power to a truck or trailer is a no-brainer. You’d be forgiven for thinking that none of those corners are in Canada. That’s mostly true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that solar has no place here. Just that you must be careful in assessing manufacturer claims about what their solar gizmo can actually do.

Almost all of Canada gets an average of 4.2 hours of solar sunlight a day. Two areas — a small stretch of the southern prairies and a little ribbon of central B.C. — crank that number up to 4.5 hours. Compare that to as many six hours in Arizona, New Mexico, and a patch of southeast California. Doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it’s a big deal. A 300-watt solar setup that can help to run a tractor’s electric APU in that part of the U.S. would probably have to be a 600- or 800-watt setup for a rig running, say, a Toronto-Montreal-Halifax route.

It also means that manufacturer claims can be rather idealistic if calculations were based on experience in warm and sunny parts of our world. There’s no subterfuge involved here, but “your mileage may vary,” as they say.


IN PRINT — Keep your cool. Spec’ the right reefer.

October 3, 2017 by John Smith

Nothing spoils a day quicker than rotting cargo, but that’s exactly what happens if reefer temperatures stray beyond an acceptable range. Arguments at a receiver’s dock, insurance claims, and soured business relationships are bound to follow. The challenges can also take root long before temperatures are set or wheels begin to roll.


ThermoKing launches electric APU, connected TRU

October 2, 2017 by John Smith

ATLANTA, GA – Thermo King unveiled two new products at the North American Commercial Vehicle show, including an electric auxiliary power unit (APU) and a connected trailer refrigeration unit (TRU).


A greener refrigerant

July 25, 2017 by John Smith

Thermo King is now offering the option of R-452A refrigerant in its EcoWise truck and trailer products.


ThermoKing power management tools

March 30, 2017 by John Smith

Thermo King has expanded its lineup of power management tools, now including a boost charger, auto-start module, and electric pallet jack charger.