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tank truck with hp2000 apu unit

APUs vs. Portable Generators for Trucks


Periodically we are asked what makes an APU worth the added initial cost over using a portable generator to run the a/c or to provide power to accessories in your truck while you are parked. I stress initial because it doesn’t take long for a quality APU to pay for itself while keeping you comfortable.

As most of you know, many states have now passed anti idling legislation that can result in fines up to $25,000 and even one year imprisonment in some states. This means that if you are parked in 5 degree weather or 105 degree weather, you may not be able to idle your truck to keep warm or cool.

In order to keep your cab comfortable and ensure you get a good night’s rest, you need an auxiliary power source for your truck. Auxiliary power units built specifically for trucks not only provide the power you need to stay warm or cool, they also offer a host of benefits including keeping your batteries charged so you aren’t left sitting when you should be driving.

While I can’t speak to the features of every APU on the market, a few features of the HP2000HP2000 Auxiliary Power Unit - Front/Side view
Xtreme Series APU include:

  • 20,000 BTU of Heat and A/C with the patented heat pump system
  • Cab Mounted, touch screen, Programmable Controller
  • Xtremely Quiet Operation
  • Rugged Stainless Steel Cabinet Built for the Road
  • Engine Warming and Battery Charging Capabilities
  • Does the Potential Savings Outweigh Lost Features?

Generators while having a lower initial price tag are missing several features that will detract from your comfort and in the long run could end up costing your more money. Imagine how much money you would lose waking up to dead batteries and missing your delivery window!

The first issue that you will have with a generator is that the majority of them have gas engines. This means that you will have to carry enough fuel cans to run your generator and every time you stop for fuel, you will have to fill gas cans, if you forget, you will be without heat or air.

Since portable generators are not built to be mounted on vehicles, the engines and generator heads are exposed leaving them open to the elements far exceeding their intended use. Generators have brushes inside every generator head and the rough conditions of the road will introduce grit
and grime into these heads, rapidly wearing out the brushes. Our APU was designed to provide power for your 110V appliances through an inverter, eliminating that common failure point.

Generators may not last as long, but they are cheaper right?

While the price of a decent generator is less than the starting price of an APU, when you consider the add ons you will need to make it function efficiently, your savings aren’t as considerable and you are still missing out of several features designed to make you more comfortable on the road.

Buying a Small Generator

So you’re still thinking that the generator is the best option? Here are a few more things to consider. In order to avoid having to get out every time
you want to start the generator, you choose one with a remote start option. A unit like the Honda EU3000iS has an MSRP of around $2,400 and can only power a 13,500 BTU a/c unit, 6,500 BTU less than our APU.

Upgrading to a Diesel Generator

Since you don’t want to mess with filling fuel gas cans at every stop, you decide to buy a diesel generator with remote start. The price tag for a good unit such as the Cummins Onan QD 3.2 Diesel RV Generator – 3.2HDZAA-6508 is just under $5,500 and you still don’t have a control unit that auto starts the generator when your batteries are low. It also does not pre-heat the engine on a certain day and time to make sure your rig is ready when you are. Not to mention you are still going to need a battery charger that can keep up with your engine heating pads, bringing the cost very close to that of our APU.

Preventative Maintenance Costs

Aside from the initial cost of purchasing a unit, our APU is going to save you time and money over its’ lifetime. Our unit can be fully serviced in around 30 minutes whereas a generator must be completely removed to be serviced as the oil typically is drained from the bottom and most units must be strapped to the catwalk. The actual servicing of the unit doesn’t take long for a generator either but the smaller engine will most likely require more frequent maintenance, meaning down time for your truck and the more separate components you have, the greater the likelihood of failure. One night of sleeping in 5 degree weather and you will be wishing you chose an APU instead of trying to save a few bucks upfront on a generator!

As an over the road driver, you need professional grade equipment that you can rely on. While a short haul trucker may be able to skimp on their equipment, your livelihood depends on being rested, charged, and ready to roll at a moment’s notice. The HP2000 Xtreme will do its’ part to make sure you are ready when duty calls.


About Gary

Having a fleet of his own in the past, Gary Parks, knows the struggles of owning and maintaining a truck. With that being said, he also knows the value of a dependable APU. If you have questions about the HP2000 Xtreme APU or any of our products, you can contact us at or by calling: (855) 472-0002


  • J. ADAM *****
    J. ADAM *****


  • Antoine S FINCH
    Antoine S FINCH

    wHAT YOU STATE being true your solution doesn’t help company drivers who aren’t allow inverters on their truck? Forget companies won’t ever fully convert to APU’S because it cuts into profits, Someone should invent a portable generator not needing oil changes and pure-sine wave technology for company drivers and OP’S that they could use to power microwaves,computers and game consoles? they could beat microsoft,google and facebook profits in little to no times! people could take camping and use for tail gating and god only knows what else? but cost must be affordable,unresistable under the cost or as the same of a new cell phone!

    • Matt

      Thank you for your message, Mr. Finch,

      The reason most companies don’t allow their drivers to have inverters in their trucks is typically due to the cost of having to jump start a class 8 truck and the damage a battery endures when draining its voltage very low. Inverters are the leading cause of battery drain and, in turn, battery damage. The proper use of the APU to prevent the batteries from being damaged allows for the use of an inverter to power any 110v items in the truck. The additional benefits of the reduction of wear and tear on the drive engine during idle, prevention of drive engine cold starts, and (most importantly) keeping their drivers happy increasing driver retention bring thousands of dollars to a company’s bottom line.

      If we could come up with something like you describe, you are correct, we could retire early. Until then, the benefits of our current HP2000 WELL outweighs the risk. The HP2000 is the lightest weight, most fuel efficient APU on the market and has the lowest cost of any comparable unit out there. For more information or to contact me directly, call 618-215-3735.

  • Marcel Dunant
    Marcel Dunant

    My problem is a full faring volvo 780 with 150 gallon tanks which gives little room to frame mount. Can it hide behind the farings

    • Matt

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, there are many times that we can mount the HP2000 behind the fairings on a Volvo. Another great option is our catwalk mount. We install quite a few of these in this location but it is not for every truck. You must be conscience of the trailer location and make sure your slider is far enough back to not damage the APU on a turn. If interested in finding whether this would work for you, please contact me at 618-215-3735 and we can discuss it further.

      Thanks again for your comment.


      Matt Throgmorton
      VP of Sales and Marketing
      Parks Industries, LLC

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