Travel Day 5 -- West Gardiner Service Plaza on the Maine Turnpike, ME
One evening last winter, I saw on TV (probably Discovery Channel) a program about Truck Stops. I was amazed at what has happened to truck stops over the last several years. I never really paid much attention until recently when our RVing adventures put us in much closer contact with truckers and truck stops. As part of this show, there was a segment on Truck Stop Electrification (TSE). What a neat idea!! Today I saw it for the first time in real life at the West Gardiner Service Plaza on the Maine Turnpike.
So here is your tutorial for the day -- TSE
The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates there are about 5,000 truck stops in the United States. Electrified parking spaces (EPS), also known as truck stop electrification, allow truck drivers to provide power to necessary systems, such as heating, air conditioning, or appliances, without idling the engine. Truck stop electrification can reduce diesel emissions and save on fuel costs, although there are indirect impacts associated with the method of electricity generation.
Options for truck stop electrification include single-system electrification and dual-system electrification, also known as "shorepower".
In single-system electrification, off-board equipment at the truck stop provides heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC). These HVAC systems are contained in a structure above (called a gantry) or on a pedestal beside the truck parking spaces. A hose from the HVAC system is connected to the truck window and, in some cases, to a computer touch screen that enables payment.
This is what the Gantry system looks like
Here are some shots of Pedestals
These stand-alone systems are generally owned and maintained by private companies that charge an hourly fee. To accommodate the HVAC hose, an inexpensive window template may be required in the truck.
Dual-system electrification, also known as "shorepower," requires both onboard and offboard equipment so trucks can plug into electrical outlets at the truck stop. To use dual-system electrification, trucks must be equipped with an inverter to convert 120-volt power, electrical equipment, and hardware to plug into the electrical outlet. Necessary electrical equipment might include an electrical HVAC system.
Truck stop outlets are owned by the truck stop or by a private company that regulates use and fees. The trucking company or driver owns and maintains the onboard equipment.
A small but growing network of centers across the country are providing plug-in electricity to truckers who stop there. The service allows truckers to plug in to the electrical grid for a small hourly fee and run electronic devices in their cabs without having to idle their engines.
Shorepower Technologies (formerly Shurepower) is currently deploying electrified parking across North America. Shorepower provides Truck Stop Electrification (TSE) as well as Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Shorepower TSE allows truck drivers to turn off their engines and plug into all weather electrical and communication outlets during mandatory rest periods. This reduces fuel costs, toxic exhaust emissions, maintenance costs and provides a better night's rest.
As of Feb 2013, Shorepower operates approximately 55 TSE locations in 30 US States. Alan Bates, director of marketing and strategic development for Shorepower, described the service as similar to an "energy vending machine." Truckers can hook up to the Shorepower machines using a heavy-duty electrial extension cord, then run heating and air conditioning systems and use in-cab appliances such as microwaves and TVs on the 110/208-volt system. Cable TV is sometimes included.
The service has a hook-up fee of $1 and costs $1 per hour, and truckers have four ways to pay. They can use credit cards over the phone, online or at a kiosk in the truck stop, or they can use cash to buy prepaid cards from the truck stop cashier. For a trucker taking a 10-hour rest stop, the cost would be $11, Bates said. "To idle a main diesel engine for that same period costs about $40, not including maintenance, just for fuel," he said.
In addition to the cost savings, the setup is environmentally friendly. The environmental advantage is one of the main reasons Shorepower is offering the systems. It teamed up with another company, Cascade Sierra Solutions, to take advantage of a $20 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to install the plug-in stations. Fewer than 20 are operating, but Bates said the goal is to have 65 open by the end of the year. The stations also can be used by RVs and electric cars, although Bates said that is a decision left up to individual truck stop owners. The truck stop gets a small cut of whatever revenue Shorepower brings in at each plug-in station.
Truck Stop Electrification (TSE)seems like a real good idea to me I'll keep looking for a driver who will let me spend time in his cab to see this in action.