More Truck Stops Plugging In and Electrifying the Industryby Jana Ritter - Published: 2/05/2013
West Winds is the fourth Utah truck stop to get on board and start electrifying the trucking industry. Those who know that old familiar sound of trucks left idling for long periods of time to keep motors warm, the heaters or air conditioners powered or to keep a refrigeration unit operating, might also know the familiar sting of what it costs with the high fuel prices. Not to mention what all of us should know about how idling trucks might be effecting the environment.
But times are a changing and the entire US is slowly switching on the benefits of truck stop electricification. While the concept is not much different to the power pedestals that have been around in RV parks and boat marinas for years, the trucking industry is the last mobile group to plug into the advantages. Its as simple as running an extension cord to power a space heater to stay warm and run their other equipment, but its taken a while for a lot of truck manufacturers to even make it possible. As more and more of the newer models are finally allowing this alternative option to power up trucks, more and more truck stops are joining in to electrify the trucking industry across the entire US.
Allen Burns, general manager for West Winds can already see how excited truck drivers are about the 24 pedestals installed in the overnight parking area of West Winds truck stop. “Truckers have been using them and even diesel pick-ups that were staying at the motel came over and plugged in, he said. Each pedestal connection has two outlets; one can be used for the cab and one for the block heater. Drivers can either run an extension cord into the truck, or conversion kits are also being given out free of charge. Burns explains how the power pedestals are also good for charging up business. “Most of the long haul truckers have a specific routine they follow, they'll pull in on a Friday or Saturday night and both lots will fill up. They will pull out their satellite dishes, have a meal in the restaurant, take a shower, and relax.”
The other real benefit is how much this is cutting back on idling, something that not only saves trucking companies on today's expensive fuel costs, but also reducing emissions for cleaner air – which is certainly beneficial to everyone in the long run. For now and perhaps most importantly, it's the truck drivers who are happiest about the advantages electricity lends to their time on the road. Demetrio Duran is a trucker who travels all over the country hauling equipment for events. "We are very interested in this. It's awesome, it's good for everyone, the companies and the environment”, Demetrio said. “Right now we are on our way to Aspen, Colo. for the Winter X games to set up all the video screens. We have all new Volvos and they are equipped with the electrical plugs and we'll use them. Most people don't like the sound of idling trucks and truckers don't either”, he adds.
West Winds is part of the Shorepower Truck Electrification Project where the Department of Energy provided $22.2 million in grant money for the development of the electrified truck parking pedestals. With other participants that include Eagle's Landing in Beaver, R-Place in Wendover, and LW's Travel Center, the grant program estimates it will add a total of 50 new electrified sites across the United States.