Portland, OR-based Shorepower Technologies, formed in 2004 and developer of what it terms an “energy vending model” for truckstop electrification (TSE), is using seed funding via the Dept. of Energy’s (DOE) Shorepower Truck Electrification Project (STEP) to initially install its shore power “AC electric pedestals” at truckstops along major trucking corridors.

Twelve truckstop sites are already operational and another 50 are in the works as part of the company’s phased roll-out of its simplified solution for providing electric power to trucks so drivers do not have to idle engines or run fueled auxiliary power units to power in-cab creature comforts while parked.

DOE’s STEP is a public-private venture supported by energy, transportation and air-quality agencies that aims to move the TSE ball down the road by deploying shore power at 50 sites along major Interstates as well as by funding onboard equipment rebates. STEP has dedicated over $10 million to building TSE infrastructure parking space and to the truck-equipment rebates.

The STEP program will in total fund AC pedestals as 1,200 parking spaces at 50 locations over the next 12 to 18 months.

As for Shorepower Technologies, its five-year goal, Alan Bates, vp of marketing, told Fleet Owner, is to have 250 truckstop locations fitted by then. Long term, he is looking at installing pedestals at 500 to 1,500 locations around the country, depending on capital funding the firm attains to expand. He notes there is an average of 20-30 parking spots electricified at each Shorepower site.

Bates said the potential market is even larger—that is if regulations change to allow commercial ventures such as Shorepower to set up pedestals in public-highway rest areas.

According to Bates, the Shorepower solution offers distinct advantages over older, more complex methods of delivering electricity—and typically other services such as a/c—to truck cabs parked at truckstops:

•There is no petroleum consumption

•Zero local emissions

•No undesirable noise

•Safe & proven technology

•Drivers have more freedom

•Focused on idle-reduction

•Most-efficient operation

•Electric TRU standby power

•No recycled air

•Most cost-effective

•Sustainable business model

As for the solution’s simplicity of use by drivers, Bates states that:

•100% of trucks can plug into shore power with extension cord

•20-30% of trucks have shore power hookup “convenience” prewired

•All truck manufacturers and many APU suppliers provide shore-power options

•Retrofit cost to plug in: $100 - $2000

•Industry is providing incentives [to cover retrofit costs]

Each ruggedized Shorepower Technologies AC pedestal offers electric power as well as cable TV and wireless Internet (where those services are available) along with remote payment/activation and monitoring.

According to the company, using its electric power to provide creature comforts in the cab will cost $11 a night vs. $40 for idling a truck.

Once the company shifts from site development to customer development, Bates said it will focus on “educating fleets” and signing them up to a “package deal,” which will likely include various discounts and tie in with a fleet card.

“But the whole issue right now,” he added, “is to get the critical mass of availability [of shore power] in place.”

Initially, Shorepower is focusing on installing its pedestals at truckstops along these major Interstates: I-5, I-95, I-10, I-20, I-80, I-90, and I-70.