Plugged In

Max Kvidera | August 07, 2011

Brady says he had a few connectivity problems with IdleAire’s Internet. The heating and AC suited him, although he says he would have wanted cooler temperatures. “What I didn’t like was when the time ran out, it ran out immediately,” he says. “I didn’t like the way they had the payment system set up.” He also recalls the service was increasing in price before it was shut down.

Brady is waiting to find TSE where he runs. In the meantime, he’s idling when he takes breaks. “I don’t have much choice,” he says. “They should concentrate on the states that have no-idle laws. For us it’s getting a little ridiculous to pay these [fuel] prices.”

Rick Butler

Leased to E&H Transport of Carlsbad, Calif., the owner-operator picks up slot machines in Reno, Nev., and delivers them around the country. He used Shorepower and the former IdleAire up to four times a week. “It was nice to go where they had IdleAire and less idling,” he recalls. “You get a lot better sleep.”

Butler, a former IdleAire Gold member, says he would look for specials the company offered to get reduced rates or free hours. Occasionally, tractor-trailers were parked in spaces designated for TSE, including wide loads that grabbed extra space. “They leased the spaces but it didn’t guarantee a slot,” he says. “You could call ahead and it would work out sometimes, but not always.”

Butler says he could use IdleAir now for the shore power to run his CPAP machine for his sleep apnea instead of the extra battery he uses for it. “I charge my spare truck battery, connect an inverter and use that for microwave, TV or to recharge something,” he says.



WIRED AT CROSSVILLE

Finding truck stops that offer electrification is difficult, but the Eco Travel Plaza in Crossville, Tenn., beats them all.

The independently owned facility, on I-40 about 70 miles west of Knoxville, is the only truck stop in the U.S. that offers power at all of its parking spaces – in this case, 50. In addition, equipment from two service providers – AireDock and Shorepower Technologies – is available.

Eco Travel Plaza also stands out by using solar power to generate 35 kilowatts of its power needs. The business extends its green commitment by using LED lighting; recycling glass, paper and plastic; and applying window film to reduce heat and air conditioning usage.

The facility’s owners received a $580,000 EPA grant to install equipment and kicked in $300,000 of their own.

“This location stands out because it shows what can be done to reduce Class 8 truck idling and make it comfortable for drivers – a win-win for everyone,” says Jonathan Overly, of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition that collaborated on the project.

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