The technology works much like plug-in stations commonly found at RV parks and boat marinas. By plugging trucks into a power pedestal, drivers can operate heating, air conditioning and cab appliances without having to leave the truck idling during their mandatory 10-hour rest periods.
The technology is being deployed in Iowa and around the country by Shorepower Technologies, which has installed 24 electrified parking spaces at Broadway Flying J.
Broadway Group, which operates the Williams, Iowa, truckstop, is an early adopter of plug-in power for trucks, having added the service to a location at Ellensburg, Wash., several years ago.
"We think of ourselves as good corporate citizens, and offering an idle-reduction service helps us fulfill that mission for drivers, for fleet operators and for communities near our travel centers," says Dan Alsaker, owner of Broadway Group. "The higher the price of diesel fuel gets, the more attractive it is to plug in."
Idling a truck consumes as much as a gallon of fuel an hour. With diesel fuel at $4 a gallon or more, idling can easily cost $40 or more per stop. Plug-in power, by contrast, costs $1 an hour, and it helps reduce our nation's consumption of imported oil.
Leaving the engine idling also increases long-term wear and tear on trucks, adding to maintenance and repair costs.
By reducing or eliminating idling, plug-in power also reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and particulate matter.
In addition to the health and financial benefits, plug-in power also helps drivers comply with the increasing number of anti-idling laws passed by states and local jurisdictions.
Installation of plug-in power technology at Broadway Flying J is part of the Shorepower Truck Electrification Project, a federally funded program aimed at reducing truck idling. Broadway Flying J is one of 50 locations to receive the power pedestals through the program, which is administered by Cascade Sierra Solutions, a Eugene, Ore., -based organization, in partnership with Shorepower Technologies under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy. To see the network of Shorepower sites, visit www.plugintosavings.org.
As part of the STEP program, equipment-purchase incentives are being made available to about 5,000 vehicle owners who commit to using the hook-ups to reduce engine idling.
Shorepower pedestals provide access to 120 VAC, 208 VAC or 240 VAC power sources, sold at a rate of $1 per hour, and to cable TV at most locations, with wireless Internet available for an additional charge. Access and payment can be handled with a credit card, gift card, smartphone, laptop or toll-free customer service hotline.