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Quallion's lithium-ion batteries will help to power idling trucks.
Company: Quallion
Location: Los Angeles

The price at the pump is putting the squeeze on truckers who earn their livelihood hauling goods.

Quallion, a custom battery manufacturer with 170 employees, is hoping to capitalize on the increasing cost of fuel by selling lithium-ion batteries to power idling trucks.

In 2010 and 2011, Quallion received a total of $7 million in grant money from the California Energy Commission, so it could automate its manufacturing facility. The grants will allow Quallion to mass produce lithium-ion batteries -- power packs that are lighter, smaller and have a longer cycle life than their lead acid counterparts.

Quallion president Paul Beach said that's a plus for truckers. Lighter and smaller power packs take up less room in the truck. That leaves more space for goods, explained Beach.

The Environmental Protection Agency states that long-duration truck-idling consumes 1.2 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually. Beach said truckers spend thousands of dollars every year running their engines in order to keep their living quarters air conditioned during break time.

"If they idle overnight in an 18-wheeler, they're going to burn about 14 gallons of diesel," said Beach.

Quallion has already produced a prototype of the anti-idling truck battery, which can provide up to 10 hours of air conditioning for truck drivers. Quallion is marketing the battery and air-conditioning unit for less than $10,000, an amount the company said pays for itself in two years with diesel prices at around $4 per gallon.

The company is also working with GM, Ford and Chrysler to develop a new electric car battery that combines both high energy and high performance.


By Sarah Richards, contributing writer @CNNMoney - Last updated March 23 2012: 10:12 AM ET
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