Shore-power pioneer IdleAire Technologies, Inc. has filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The story was first reported by the company’s local paper, the Knoxville News Sentinel.

IdleAire, which was launched in 2000, proposed a unique approach to eliminating idling at truck stops: by providing AC electricity and filtered in-cab heating and air conditioning plus a variety of communications and entertainment options via a console that fits into a truck’s side window.

By the time of the filing, there were some 8,493 IdleAire-equipped parking spaces at 130 sites in 34 states, funded in part through $55.6 million in various government grants offered to encourage the deployment of fuel-saving/greenhouse-gas reducing technologies.

The bankruptcy filing estimated that the company has between 1,000 and 5,000 creditors, assets worth between $100 million and $500 million and liabilities between $100 million and $500 million. According to a Declaration filed earlier by CEO Michael C. Crabtree, IdleAire employs approximately 1,200 people, most of whom are based at the truckstops and fleet terminals where IdleAire has installed facilities.

In spite of its growing installed based, the company was never profitable, according to Crabtree’s Declaration, realizing a net loss of $93.4 million on total net revenues of $37.2 million in 2007. Its business plan had “long centered around reaching profitability through site expansion in order to achieve a sufficient network to increase market recognition and attractiveness to fleet owners in order to improve the average utilization of its systems above the 25% level currently realized,” Crabtree reported.

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