Looking at deploying an APU solution across your fleet? Here are the top questions to ask your supplier according to our panel of experts.
- Is it consistent with our corporate goals, e.g., driver retention, environmentally friendly, on-time delivery?
- What will my drivers like and dislike about this system?
- How easy is it to use?
- Why it is different and/or better than other systems?
- How reliable is it?
- What is the fuel consumption and performance data for the system?
- What is the cost of preventative maintenance?
- What has been changed since the fleet’s last APU review, e.g., new and improved features?
- Is the company behind it financially sound?
- How frequently does it need service and how easily can it be done? Must dealers do it while it’s under warranty?
- Will it extend the life of my fleet?
- Will it enhance the value of my assets at trade-in time?
- How long have you been in business?
- Are lease-to-own programs available so the up-front investment is reduced?
- Are the products CARB approved and EPA SmartWay Verified?
- What is the warranty?
- Where can I get my equipment serviced?
Additionally, Ethan Garber, chief executive officer of IdleAir, stressed the importance of an APU’s total cost of ownership (TCO):
“Fleets should consider the Fully Loaded Cost of Ownership of idle-reduction solutions, He said. “How many months/hours per year will you really use a given solution when calculating your ROI? APUs are typically only needed for half the year but many buyers amortize that up-front cost over the whole year or for more than the five years a truck is typically kept within a fleet.”
“The old saying is, ‘You get what you pay for,’” added Josh Lupu, Director of Marketing, Webasto Thermo and Comfort North America. “Look at the total cost of ownership for idle reduction equipment. What might be the least expensive device up front, might not be the least expensive device in the long term once maintenance, repairs and downtime are factored in. Make sure the product you buy is tested for durability and performs well in the long run. Reputable manufacturers will be able to tell you about the performance and durability testing they’ve done in various climates.”