Plugged In

Max Kvidera | August 07, 2011

Other than IdleAir, which has close to half of the existing TSE sites in place, here are the other four providers and their plans.

Shorepower Technologies offers a simple system: electricity via an extension cord connected to a stationary pedestal. The Portland, Ore.-based company has seven installations in Washington State and Oregon and another in Kenly, N.C. The sites include six to 12 pedestals, each serving two to four trucks.

They’re teaming up with Cascade Sierra Solutions to locate TSE at 50 truck stops under the Shorepower Truck Electrification Project, funded by a $20 million U.S. Department of Energy grant. Target installation sites are along major truck lanes, such as I-5, I-10, I-70, I-80, I-90 and I-95.

Dave Orton of CSS says the goal is to have the sites with an average of 24 charging connections installed by 2012. STEP also will provide rebate money to independent owner-operators and fleets to retrofit vehicles with idle-reduction equipment.

Truck stop reception has been mixed. “If a truck stop had previous experience with IdleAire, then they may have a negative impression,” says Shorepower’s Alan Bates. “If the operator has a vision of truck stop electrification that’s coming, they are on board.”

AireDock’s system delivers filtered air for heating and cooling and power for in-cab use. The Belchertown, Mass.-based company’s Roger Southall says it has 10 sites installed or in progress, with plans for more than 500 units in place at 20 sites this year.

Southall says most of the funding comes from federal grants or economic stimulus funds. The ownership options are for truck stops to apply for grants and own units – Southall says few have applied – or for AireDock to apply for grants, own the units and share revenue with the truck stop.

Potential sites are being identified within geographic areas with high pollution concentration.

CabAire, a division of electronics manufacturer Control Module Industries, has sites installed at truck stops and state-run travel centers on turnpikes. The Enfield, Conn.-based company, which is also providing electrification at the Port of New Haven, Conn., is testing its Lombardi Travel Plaza installation on the New Jersey Turnpike to see if TSE is viable. The company is pitching its service to fleets and truckers, offering giveaways and posting a video in the drivers’ lounge. “We want to see if it will make a difference,” Bianco says. “If we can make it work at Lombardi, we stand a chance at other places. If it won’t work at Lombardi, it won’t work anywhere.”

EnviroDock offers various products. The E-Dock stationary unit is mounted to a concrete pedestal that delivers filtered air through a window control panel. A unit on wheels can be moved where needed. Its product lineup also includes a stationary shore power unit called PowrDock that provides power to trucks that are shore power-capable or have electric APUs.

Ken Neal says the company is also working on a battery-powered portable system that will be independent of the power grid. To date, the company of Ashland, Va., has limited visibility, with small installations at the Port of Albany, N.Y., a Canaan, N.Y., truck stop and its largest presence with 30 E-Dock and 10 PowrDock units at a Dandridge, Tenn., travel plaza.

“We’ve found truck stop owners are still hesitant to put in truck stop electrification,” Neal says. “They don’t understand the return on investment yet.”

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