On-vehicle power: weighing up the options

Paul Smith Winton

By Paul Smith, commercial manager at Winton

With an on-vehicle power system, vehicles are professionally converted so the power of the engine is used to drive auxiliary equipment.

As an alternative to transporting separate compressors and generators from site to site, these solutions offer a wide range of benefits but choosing the right type of system is critical. 

When a business requires flexible mobile power, on-vehicle systems can be an ideal solution.

On-vehicle power systems provide compressed air, electric and hydraulic power, and even high pressure water jetting, and can therefore be used for a multitude of tasks carried out on the road.

Compared to the traditional approach of using separate plant to supply power, on-vehicle systems offer many benefits.

Ultimately, vehicle utilisation is significantly improved, with employees essentially driving a mobile work station.

Because systems are designed for a wide variety of uses, the first step in choosing a power solution is a thorough understanding of its day-to-day application and the level of power required to operate equipment.

It’s also important to consider which systems are available for your vehicles.


So, what are the options?


Compressed air

Perfect for mobile tyre operators, the utility sector and many other industrial applications, these are compressed air solutions from 35cfm (1m³/min) to 100cfm (4.52m³/min) and beyond if required at pressures of up to 13bar (188psi).



Typically, on-vehicle electric power is provided from 1kVA up to 10kVA at 110v, 240v, 400v or multi voltage with a range of electric outlets up to 32amp.

Larger systems are available on request and all systems are installed and tested in line with current wiring regulations.



Winton can fit underfloor and engine mounted hydraulic systems delivering up to 180 litres per minute.

This is a practical solution for hydraulic fibre blowing equipment, vehicle mounted cranes and commercial vehicle tyre changing equipment.


High pressure water

Underfloor systems deliver water pressure at up to 250bar at a flow rate of up to 85 litres per minute.

These systems are appropriate for jetting, firefighting and drainage work.


Reaping the benefits

Lightweight systems can be installed on both front and rear wheel drive vehicles and solutions are suitable for vehicles ranging from light vans to heavy goods vehicles.

Make sure that you opt for a system that operates efficiently by running at lower speeds. Consequently, they generate less noise and heat, resulting in a quieter and more fuel-efficient on-vehicle power solution.

Winton customers find that our class-leading systems dramatically reduce fleet fuel and maintenance costs.

That means that whole life operating costs can lead to a quick return on investment and a big impact on a company’s bottom line.

In addition, employees benefit from a cleaner working environment because of lower exhaust emissions, as well as safer working conditions due to reduced operational noise levels.


Legal considerations

Finally, it is important to be aware of some key regulatory requirements. On-vehicle power systems should be installed and certified in line with manufacturer guidelines and, where applicable, to EUWVTA UK National Small Series Type Approval (NSSTA).

Type approval means that the vehicle installation conforms to current legislation, meets legal requirements and will add value to the vehicle resale in years to come.

It’s also important to consider the impact a conversion will have on payload, especially now that extra technology – and additional weight – is being fitted to light commercial vehicles to meet Euro 6 emission regulations. 

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