Lippert’s Slideout Gives Truckers Needed Space
If a recreational vehicle can be fitted with a slideout room, why can’t a truck cab? That’s the question Scott McKinnon asked himself, which resulted in RV supplier Lippert Components Inc.’s entry into the semi truck marketplace.
Go By Truck News reported that McKinnon is a specialty sales manager for Elkhart, Ind.-based Lippert, which manufactures slideouts for RVs. It occurred to him that truck drivers face even greater space challenges than people traveling in an RV.
“There’s not too many truck stops with playgrounds and picnic tables and outside lounging areas where you can have a campfire or anything like an RV,” says McKinnon. “They’re pretty much locked into sleeping, staying and being in that truck.”
McKinnon began researching and developing a slideout for truck cabs about eight months ago, and he already has test models installed in two trucks. Kelvin Locklear, famous in the trucking community for his role on CMT’s “Trick My Truck” reality show, performed with the installation. Locklear plans to work with mechanics on both coasts to create a network of certified slide-out installers. Once the product has been proven on the aftermarket, it may be picked up by tractor manufacturers.
The slide-out extends from the back of the cab and measures 38 inches deep by 64 inches wide and 70 inches tall. It comes with two options: a king-size sleeper sofa or a dinette booth that converts into a bed. Options that pull down from the aero-dynamic space above the ceiling are in the works to allow customers more customization. The slide-outs use automated opening and closing functions, but they can also be closed manually in case of malfunction. The fact that they extend from the rear of the cab means they will not take up extra parking space when deployed. “We feel this is something the industry will latch on to very soon,” says Locklear. “It’s definitely cutting edge. Drivers are always trying to get more room, but you really can’t make the trucks any longer.” Lippert expects the slide-outs to cost no more than 10 percent of the tractor’s value. They add around 200 pounds of weight.
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