I-5 through CA, OR and WA becoming Shorepower corridor

U.S. Interstate 5 through California, Oregon and Washington – one of the nation"s most important freight routes – will be transformed in 2012 into the first interstate corridor with increased availability of anti-idling technology.

Power pedestals will be added to six truck stops and travel centers along the I-5 corridor, five in California, and one in Oregon. Some will open in early 2012; the rest will begin offering the service later in the year.

Those locations will join four existing truck stops and travel centers along I-5 in California, Oregon and Washington outfitted with parking spaces with electrical connections, allowing drivers to shut off their engines during rest periods, plug in and use in-cab comfort, communications and entertainment systems. By eliminating idling, those drivers will reduce fuel and maintenance costs as well as noise and emissions.

The Shorepower Truck Electrification Project, a federally funded project administered by Shorepower Technologies and Cascade Sierra Solutions, is placing connections for AC power at 50 truck stops on the nation"s major freight corridors. I-5 is the first of 10 interstate corridors targeted for increased availability of this anti-idling technology.

"When this phase is complete in 2012, we"ll have power pedestals located between 40 and 200 miles from each other," said Jeff Kim, president and chief executive officer of Shorepower Technologies.  "This will allow the majority of truckers to have assurance that power is available along their route.

"Truckers and fleet owners have indicated they"re interested in electrical connections at parking spaces, but the biggest question about it they have is whether it"s even available, and if so where," Kim added. "Our long-term goal is to make this a standard service in most places a trucker stops for the night."

Truck-stop electrification "is a game-changing technology because it offers a practical solution to so many problems," added Sharon Banks, chief executive officer of Cascade Sierra Solutions. "It addresses the problems of noise and air pollution, which affect everyone, not just drivers. It also replaces our reliance on oil, much of which is imported from unstable and unfriendly places, with domestically produced electricity.

"This is an easily adaptable and affordable way to help the supply chain go green."

The new locations to be added under the STEP program are:

  • Flying J Travel Plaza in Bakersfield.
  • Pilot Travel Center in Dunnigan.
  • Flying J Travel Plaza in Lebec.
  • Flying J Travel Plaza in Lodi.
  • Pilot Travel Center in Weed. 
  • 7 Feathers Truck and Travel Center in Canyonville, Ore.

Shorepower Technologies already has sites operating at two locations along I-5 in Oregon: Jubitz Travel Center in Portland  and Truck "N Travel in Coburg, and at one in Washington, Suty"s Fuel & General Store in Toledo. AC-power connections for trucks are also available at Pilot Flying J"s Sacramento 49er Travel Plaza, through a project of Cascade Sierra Solutions and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

The new sites will have between 24 and 48 parking spaces with electric power availability. 

Shorepower also plans to offer 480-volt connections for Truck Refrigeration Units at the Pilot Flying J locations in Bakersfield, Lebec, Lodi and Weed.

Drivers will also enjoy increased access to AC power connections for trucks on another important West Coast freight corridor, California Route 99. EZTrip in Fresno is a participant in the STEP program.

Another type of anti-idling service, IdleAir, is already available along Route 99 at Love"s Travel Stops in Ripon, Pilot Travel Centers in Madera and Bruce"s Truck Stop in Bakersfield.

The increased availability of anti-idling services is important to truckers along I-5 not only for fuel savings and a healthier environment but because of anti-idling laws in two of the states along the corridor.

In California, diesel-fueled trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 10,000 pounds may not idle for more than five minutes, according to the state"s Air Resources Board. In 2008 the restriction was extended to sleeper berth trucks.

"California is known for being at the forefront of writing tougher environmental rules, and more restrictions on idling are going to be a part of that trend," added Banks. "Truck-stop electrification is a convenient and money-saving way of complying with the rule."

Oregon's truck anti-idling law, which has a complex set of qualifications and exemptions, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2012.

At its most basic, using Shorepower's service requires no more than a heavy-duty extension cord to connect the truck to the power pedestal. Newer models of trucks have shore power-ready connections built into their electrical systems.  What"s more, many new trucks can be spec"d and factory-installed with an AC-powered, or compatible, HVAC system.  There is also a long list of AC-powered compatible HVAC systems available on the aftermarket.

Shorepower Technologies prices its service at $1 an hour (which includes cable TV). That compares favorably to the $4 a gallon of diesel fuel it takes to idle a truck for an hour. In addition, idling a truck adds to wear on the engine, resulting in higher maintenance and repair expenses. And without the noise and emissions of trucks idling, drivers get more restful sleep, and the truck stop and nearby neighborhoods get a cleaner, quieter environment.

Another part of the STEP program, administered by Cascade Sierra Solutions, provides equipment purchase rebates up to 20 percent (or a maximum amount, depending on the product category) of the installed cost for approved equipment that can operate on electrical connections or battery power. The rebates are available for up to 25 vehicles per fleet; interested owners and fleet operators must apply in advance for approval. More information about the rebate program is available at the CSS website, www.cascadesierrasolutions.org  or by calling 541-302-0900.

"Having more sites available to plug in will be very important to those fleet operators that use I-5 as their main route," Kim said. "They"ll have greater reason to purchase equipment ready for electrical connections, knowing that there will be places to use it."

Shorepower Technologies has developed an interactive map, available at its website (www.shorepower.com), that will be updated as new shore power installations open. 

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