Cover Story
Truck stops electrify
As IdleAire again restructures, other companies vie for position in idle-reduction market

By Clarissa Kell-Holland
staff writer


After IdleAire Inc.’s abrupt suspension of operations in January, drivers who counted on its services to stay comfortable while out on the road have been scrambling to find other options.

Recently, Convoy Solutions, a New York-based investment company, announced that it had acquired IdleAire. In late May, the company announced plans to reopen 25 sites by July. However, as of press time, those sites still hadn’t reopened. IdleAire previously had 131 locations operating in 34 states. Many drivers still have not received refunds for the money they had on their IdleAire cards at the time of the closure.

And other companies are vying for position in the idle-reduction market. Some companies are receiving sizable government grants to offer alternative emission-reducing technologies for drivers at truck stops and rest areas.

Alan Bates, director of marketing and strategic development for Shorepower Technologies, said they are currently signing up new host site partners for their truck stop electrification services. He added that the company is in the “early stages of a national deployment” plan. Currently, Shorepower has six locations operating in Oregon and Washington and one in North Carolina.

In April, Shorepower was awarded a $2.15 million grant to build more than 150 parking spaces with electric hookups on Interstates 8, 10 and 19 in southern Arizona. Bates said building at the sites will begin soon.

In mid-June, CabAire LLC installed 44 truck stop electrification spaces at the Derrick Travel Plaza on Interstate 85 in Salisbury, NC. The $760,000 project was partially funded by the Centralina Council of Governments, which received $500,000 in grants to fund the electrification services, including a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency SmartWay grant.

For drivers without APUs who have a heavy-duty extension cord in their trucks, electrification may be an affordable option if they just want basic services.

 Shorepower’s Bates said the average price for a 10-hour rest period at one of their locations is $11 – $1 per hour plus a $1 startup fee. LL