Bergstrom's no-idle unit catches on around U.S.

Thomas V. Bona

A patented Bergstrom Inc. product that saves diesel fuel is reaching trucks all over the country.

Bergstrom has made 10,000 of its No-Idle Thermal Environment units, which keep parked truck cabs heated or cooled without idling engines — something Bergstrom officials say is unmatched by rival units.

The number is accelerating for the 5-year-old product. In 2008, sales were up almost 20 percent. This January, sales were up an additional 5 percent despite the recession.

“The 10,000th unit is a huge milestone for us — it tells us our technology is being readily accepted in the marketplace,” said Bill Gordon, director of global marketing.

The NITE system runs on a rechargeable battery, which differentiates it from popular “auxiliary power units” that run on a small engine.

And it’s catching on with some big names. Maverick Transportation ordered 500 trucks outfitted with the unit this year. Wal-Mart plans to test a NITE unit in one of its trucks.

It now accounts for almost 20 percent of Bergstrom’s revenue, Gordon said.

This week, Bergstrom will unveil a prototype daytime version at the Mid-America Trucking Show.

The new unit is for nonsleeper cabs, helping drivers stay cool or warm while waiting to load or unload their trucks.

Rockford-based Bergstrom designs and supplies climate systems to the commercial vehicle industry and employs 1,000 around the world.

Thomas V. Bona can be reached at (815) 987-1343 or tbona@rrstar.com.