Chevrolet's IdleAir system

Chevrolet is ready to introduce the coolest thing to happen to big-rig trucking since the days of “Convoy” and “BJ and the Bear.” The General Motors division is pitching a product called IdleAir, a system that the automaker says can let truckers maintain enough rest-stop power to run a television, air conditioning and a laptop at a truck stop without requiring the truck’s diesel engine to idle. As the saying goes, idling gets you nowhere.

The system involves what looks like a long, chute-type contraption that drops from a truss and hooks up to the passenger-side window of the truck via a plastic window adapter. The chute serves as a heating or cooling air vent and includes power outlets. Chevy estimates that big trucks burn a gallon of diesel per idling hour and systems like IdleAir could eventually cut truck-idling enough to reduce emissions by as many as eight million metric tons of CO2. IdleAir will even include solar panels on some of its trusses, making the power provision all the greener. Check out Chevy’s press release below.

While the studies of the effect of truck idling on the environment are still evolving, there’s no question that reducing idling is a good thing. California, for example, has Certified Clean Idle stickers. Earlier this month, a study was released showing that the black particles created by the burning of diesel and other fuels, i.e. black carbon or soot, may contribute to global warming at two to three times the rate than was previously estimated.

By Danny King