Idle Mitigation Systems and Lithium-Ion Battery Technology


By Mitul Chandrani

Feeling powerless takes many forms, but we have all experienced it at some point in our lives. Nothing seems to be in your control, and you feel that you are a victim of your circumstances. A lack of power can be particularly troublesome to operators of work trucks who rely on that power to perform their jobs.

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Traditionally the juice to run air tools, welders, hoists, hydraulic cranes, lift gates, and charge electronics, such as two-way radios, laptops, and metering devices, has been supplied by idling the truck engine or relying on a diesel-powered generator.

However, the downsides to idling are significant. Aside from the added noise decibels and reduced air quality on the jobsite, the negative impact to the vehicle is significant. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), excessive idling doubles the wear and tear on engine components and exhaust aftertreatment systems versus normal driving. When you factor that operating some functions like power take-offs (PTOs) require higher RPMs at idle, this issue is compounded exponentially. A typical work truck will consume at least one gallon of fuel for every hour it idles. When you combine this with the increased PM intervals caused by excessive idling, the avoidable operating costs represents thousands of dollars in an annual budget.

Then there’s the environmental factor—state and federal agencies propose stricter laws to reduce emissions caused by idling. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has adopted phased-in regulations that would require current NOx (nitrogen oxides) standards be cut about 75% below current standards beginning in 2024 and 90% below current standards in 2027. And everyone in the trucking industry knows that when something happens in California, it can spread across the rest of the country.

With ZeroRPM and FREEDOM XC Pro, work crews have the ability to do the same jobs with dedicated, highly efficient, and trustworthy Li-Ion battery banks rather than relying on idling or diesel generators.


But what’s a work truck operator to do? Statistics show that commercial vehicles idle in park for 65% of their “engine on” time. Perhaps to power halogen lights at nighttime jobsites. Or maybe a technician is checking over inspection reports in his mobile office while running A/C during a summer heat wave. Either way, the vehicle needs to remain running for the HVAC and auxiliary power supply to function without eating battery reserves or relying on a noisy APU—or does it?

Smart fleet managers and owner-operators proactively seek solutions that put their businesses ahead of the competition and ensure their equipment and services are in compliance. Xantrex, Mission Critical Electronics (MCE), and ZeroRPM responded with alternative power solutions that meet the demand of today’s work truck industry without sacrificing performance and reliability.


Originally developed for utility and medical emergency services vehicles with critical power needs, ZeroRPM created a hybrid vehicle power system that provides onboard power and climate control without the need for constant idling. Once a vehicle is in park, its proprietary idle mitigation system automatically shuts down the engine and provides chassis power using high-density lithium-ion batteries.

ZeroRPM system is more than just a rechargeable electric auxiliary power unit—it’s a completely integrated system that works with the existing electrical and HVAC system to supply automatic engine-off A/C and heating through factory vents, plus full power to the onboard electronics, including lights, radio, and inverters. With scalable product stacks, ZeroRPM systems can supply your vehicle with energy starting at 100Ah at 12VDC, 24VDC, 36VDC, and 48VDC, which are configurable to meet specific requirements. The ZeroRPM software is compatible with virtually all common commercial chassis platforms.

One of the biggest concerns for some work trucks, such as sewage vacuum trucks and tire service trucks, is getting power to the hydraulic systems for cranes and lifts. Installing an electric PTO (ePTO) equates to more fuel savings and eliminates the need for engine idling at jobsites. With ZeroRPM, the operator simply presses a key on the system control panel and power from the batteries is directed to the ePTO motor.

Intellimetrics provides customized reports and graphs of fuel savings, emissions reduction, and overall efficiency. Fleet managers have discovered that a truck with the ZeroRPM system can save more than three hours per day in unnecessary idling with the system’s customized solutions.

At the heart of the FREEDOM eGEN system is an extremely powerful and safe Lithium Iron Phosphate Battery Bank.


Xantrex’s FREEDOM eGen solution also leverages the power of today’s advanced lithium-ion batteries. Available from 105Ahr as part of a fully customizable power generation system, FREEDOM eGen batteries may supply up to 6,000 charge-discharge cycles—10 to 12 times the life cycles of traditional batteries. Regulated by the built-in Xantrex Intelligent Battery Management System (BMS), FREEDOM eGen supports charging from both a second alternator (included) and shore power.

The FREEDOM XC Pro inverter/charger is available in model ratings of 2,000, and 3,000 watts. The FREEDOM XC Pro supplies continuous 120V true sine wave power—especially important for proper function of surge-sensitive instruments, meters, voltage indicators, laptops, and more. As added protection, the FREEDOM XC Pro can generate an industry-leading five seconds of surge, also known as temporary power boost, for up to two times the inverter’s watt rating. This easily handles initial draw that tools and equipment require. Most other inverters have surge power for less than one second.


Let’s talk about the many benefits of Li-Ion batteries. Xantrex and ZeroRPM Li-Ion batteries allow for 90% of the battery capacity to be discharged, and in an emergency a user can even use the last 10%; so, if you have a 600-amp hour lithium battery, you have 600-amp hours of usable power.

You might assume more capacity means more bulk, but just the opposite is true. As the world’s lightest metal, lithium boasts a huge weight advantage—Li-Ion batteries are 60 to 80% lighter than their Group 31 counterparts.

Another advantage of Li-Ion batteries over diesel APUs and portable generators is consistent power to operate multiple tools simultaneously without any lag in performance. No moving parts on an EPU also means a reduction in sound levels, allowing jobs to be scheduled earlier and later in idle-restricted locations. And no noxious exhaust equates to a more operator-friendly environment for the mechanic or serviceperson who spends time working around the truck.

Advanced and intuitive Xantrex ZeroRPM panel provides real-time metrics data on the system.


There’s one more charging source that adds to the efficiency of the ZeroRPM and FREEDOM eGen systems—solar power. Solar is the ultimate trickle charger, always offsetting battery drain. Unlike the thick, hard solar panels used on most buildings, Xantrex Solar Max Flex panels can be contoured to curved surfaces without impacting power output. In addition, the Max Flex panel can harvest up to 20% more energy during the day and in low-light or shaded conditions compared to a rigid flat solar panel.


Because of mounting regulations and financial advantages, such as lower fuel and maintenance costs (not to mention added convenience and comfort for operators), work truck fleets can capitalize on ZeroRPM and FREEDOM eGen alternative power solutions. By giving your crew the ability to do the same jobs with dedicated, highly efficient, and trustworthy Li-Ion battery banks rather than relying on idling or diesel generators, you effectively say to them, “More power to you!”


Commercial truck fleets need hard data to manage fueling processes. This system transforms a conventional vehicle into a hybrid when in park and reduces emissions, protects the environment, and offers a quick ROI.

  1. Lithium-ion battery powered solution delivers power for climate control, onboard electronics, and jobsite tools.
  2. The system integrates with a vehicle’s electrical and engine system to provide engine off A/C and heating plus power for all onboard electronics.
  3. Once the vehicle is in park, the system shuts down the engine and provides all required power from lithium-ion battery source.
  4. For extended stationary use of vehicle, the system manages engine start/stop to recharge batteries as needed.


This system is a practical, clean, green power solution for extended runtime of onboard electronics and jobsite tools with advanced energy storage and multiple charging sources that enable an independent power system.

  1. The FREEDOM eGEN system offers a dedicated high-power density lithium-ion battery bank to run HVAC, hotel loads, and tools.
  2. The lithium battery pack delivers six to eight times the life cycle of traditional batteries.
  3. The battery pack may be replenished via multiple sources including high-output auxiliary alternator, solar, and shore power when plugged in.
  4. The system may be used in conjunction with a generator, but it significantly reduces generator runtime or may eliminate its use altogether.


Mitul Chandrani has worked in the trucking industry for close to 15 years. He manages the marketing function for the Xantrex brand and its parent company Mission Critical Electronics. Mitul also manages Xantrex’s YouTube channel, which contains a repository of technical and how-to videos on power solutions.

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