Powering Truckstops

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Powering Truckstops

ARLINGTON, Wash. -- An overwhelming majority of fleets want electrical connections at truckstops while they are parked for the night and would be willing to pay for it, according to a recent online survey of fleet managers and trucking companies.

A total of 88 percent of all those responding said they wanted so-called "shorepower" for the trucking industry and 86 percent said they would be willing to pay for electrical service at truckstops. Shorepower is AC power that is supplied to mobile users at places such as recreational vehicle parks and marinas. At a truckstop, the driver would run an outdoor extension cord from the electricity source to the truck to power appliances and devices such as an inverter/charger, microwave or television.

Several of the truckers participating in the survey voiced strong opinions about the importance of shorepower in their work. "Shorepower is the best idea for trucks since the invention of the wheel." said one driver. While another said, "I think it's a wonderful idea. It's about time the trucking industry catches up with the rest of the world. Even by paying for the energy used, it would maintain lower operating costs for the truck."

The survey was conducted by industry suppliers Xantrex Technology, Dometic, and Phillips & Temro. Each company offers components to help facilitate shorepower.

According to Brian Lawrence, heavy duty truck segment manager for Xantrex, the survey shows a strong interest in truckstop electrification. "The comments in this survey show a pent-up demand by people in the industry. It's meaningful that people took the time to make comments because they haven't had a chance to voice their concerns about this before."

A total of 93 percent of all survey respondents said they wanted shorepower to operate their heating and air conditioning units. Many said truckstop electrification would reduce idling. "I idle very little now because of cost, wear and environmental concerns. Shorepower would increase my comfort level," a driver said.

Lawrence said several states already prohibit idling and it eventually will be outlawed across the country. There is also an economic benefit to reduced idling. "The Technology and Maintenance Council of the American Trucking Association as well as the Argonne National Laboratory have published information which shows that reducing idling lowers fuel costs and lengthens engine life. By introducing shorepower to truckstops, we would provide a solution for trucks not to idle," he said.

Truckstop shorepower would also make it easier for drivers, especially the growing number of driving teams, to prepare meals and enjoy entertainment in their rigs. Lawrence said the survey results will be shared with politicians and government agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Departments of Energy "If the industry truly wants this, they will have to let their voices be heard," he said. "This survey was the first step in that process."