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CCS Lightning allows you to zap fuel costs

TORONTO, Ont. - Mechron Power Systems has introduced a powerful new Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to help fleets and owner/operators reduce idling while improving driver comfort on the road....

TORONTO, Ont. – Mechron Power Systems has introduced a powerful new Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) to help fleets and owner/operators reduce idling while improving driver comfort on the road.

The CCS Lightning was introduced at the Mid-America Trucking Show and is now in full production. Mark Richardson, manager of mobile products with Mechron (a division of Toromont Industries), says the new APU boasts more strength than many current models and it also provides a shore power option. A shore power capable unit is even more economical to operate if the fleet or O/Os have access to shore power connections at the terminals they frequent or at home base. When connected to shore power the complete system functions without the need to run the gen-set. While Canada lags behind the U.S. when it comes to truck stop shore power availability, the company says this is a handy option for operators running the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. or environmentally-conscious states such as California where truck stop electrification is more common.

The CCS Lightning offers 6 kW of electrical AC output and weighs just 360 lbs, the company says. It’s only 21-inches wide, which Richardson says makes it ideal for mounting.

“It’s a very narrow unit and doesn’t take up a lot of frame rail space,” he points out.

Perhaps one of the biggest advantages is that the engine’s power is not transmitted to the AC alternator via drive belts, the AC generator is shaft driven from the engine’s flywheel. Belt driven units require periodic maintenance (belt tightening) as well as annual or semi-annual replacement of the belts. In addition to being a potential reliability issue v-belt driven systems are also less efficient than direct driven units, the company says. The company insists the new system is extremely quiet and vibration-free allowing truckers to get a good night’s sleep while maintaining comfortable cab temperatures. They’ll also sleep well knowing they’re reducing their fuel costs substantially, Richardson adds.

The CCS Lightning comes standard with: indoor and outdoor GFCI receptacles; electrically powered battery charging; maintenance reminders; automatic start control for battery voltage and coolant temperature; and a seven-day timer. Some of the optional equipment available includes high output A/C and heater, keyless remote start, high output battery charger and shore power load management.

Reducing idle time by five hours a day can result in a savings of 5,500 litres of fuel per year. Richardson says test units have shown that the CCS Lightning can reduce fuel consumption by 40 gallons per week or even more when running in ECONO Mode (in this setting, the APU automatically switches on and off as required to maintain the desired in-cab temperature).

The company has a fuel-savings calculator available at its Web site ( so carriers and O/Os can get a better idea of their specific savings potential.

“The payback we estimate depends on what you’re paying for fuel and where you’re driving, but we estimate a payback of a year and a half,” Richardson says. “If you were to finance that unit over three years, you’re making money right away.”

The new APU is included in FleetSmart’s rebate incentive program which refunds customers up to 20 per cent (to a maximum of $1,400) of the purchase price. FleetSmart’s incentive is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – a harmful byproduct of engine idling. The organization estimates between 16.5 and 18.5 tonnes of GHG emissions per year can be reduced by installing an APU on a Class 8 truck.

“APU’s in Canada continue to gain more acceptance because of the cost of fuel and particularly in Canada with the winter climate,” says Richardson. “Legislation being brought in at the local level is a driving force as well.”

The CCS Lightning is available now through Toromont/CAT dealers and the company says the dealer network will be expanding rapidly. For more information, visit

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