“It’s three times harder on an engine to idle than to pull a load.”
Truck stop electrification brings not only 120V AC power to trucks at truck stops and rest areas but also provides heating and cooling through the driver’s side window. A pedestal or overhead truss is used to pump the heat or air conditioning into the cab via a hose inserted into a window adapter.
Drivers can pay for use of the system with credit cards, fuel cards, or sometimes cash.
While there is no limit to the length of time a truck can access power, a lack of adequate infrastructure has prevented widespread adoption of this technology.
Truck stop electrification comes with no limit on the length of time trucks can access power
Truck stop electrification recharges the battery, in addition to not draining fuel.
It provides solutions for many of the reasons trucks idle — heating, cooling, and electrical power
It is relatively inexpensive, usually running around $2 an hour
There is not widespread coverage across the US. This issue is compounded by limited spaces at existing locations that offer the service
Window adapters may not fit all truck window sizes properly
Fleets don’t reimburse drivers for cost of service, making drivers reluctant to use the service
To overcome the lack of availability of locations with electrified parking spots, combining truck stop electrification with a fuel-operated air heater and an inverter/battery charger is a good option for some fleets. However, this combination does not provide a way to cool the cab when there is no power distribution system available.
Executives from 11 for-hire truckload carriers were personally interviewed to find out about their idle-reduction practices. No single technology was used by all 11 of the fleets, and only four are using truck stop electrification as part of their idle-reduction strategy.
Internet Fleet Survey
In conjunction with Michelin, the study team surveyed 200+ members of Michelin’s Fleet Forum. When asked what idle-reduction technology they would consider, 11.8% said truck stop electrification, but more than half the respondents said they had no experience with truck stop electrification.
Internet Owner-Operator Survey
In conjunction with Kevin Rutherford’s “Let’s Talk” truckers’ satellite radio forum, the study team surveyed owner-operators and small fleets. 21.5% of the survey respondents said they would consider truck stop electrification as part of an idle-reduction strategy, but 63.2% said they currently had no experience with that technology.
There are already a wide variety of payback calculators for any given type of idle-reduction system. In an effort to meet the industry’s need for more information, we have also developed a high-level payback equation to aid fleets in choosing the right combination of technologies.
All truck manufacturers offer an optional AC power port to enable truck stop electrification.
Truck stop electrification addresses many of the reasons drivers idle: to keep cool, to keep warm and to power hotel loads. A driver simply plugs into the system and can have access to the services for as long as he or she needs them. The biggest drawback is the lack of locations with electrified parking spaces and the limited number of spaces at those locations that do have electrification. The reputation of truck stop electrification also suffers from a major supplier that exited the market leaving inoperable infrastructure in place.