As carriers look to take advantage of the STEP grants, knowing how to navigate the process is aided by advice from Shorepower Technologies and Cascade Sierra Solutions, which administer the STEP grant process.

“Fleets generally won’t switch to a new technology until they see financial benefit, or governmental regulations force their hand,” says Alan Bates, vice president of marketing for Shorepower Technologies. “Companies that run reefers are looking to save money on fuel and maintenance. [Using] electric standby, fuel is conserved, emissions eliminated, noise reduced, and operating savings of 40 to 70% can be achieved.” Plug-in hybrid systems provide benefit from the ability to turn off the engine and plug into an electrical source.

“Large trailer reefers run on three-phase 460V [systems],” Bates explains. “We’re now putting this infrastructure in up to 30 locations. Shorepower’s role is electrical connection installation at 50 truckstops, totaling 1,200 parking spaces along major freight corridors, with many online in 2012.” Shorepower hopes to eventually outfit between 500 and 1,500 truckstops with electrical connections, Bates says.