Truckers start turning to shorepower technology to weather the hot and cold they face at the end of the day
It gets cold in Wyoming. And I mean really, really cold.
In the state’s second largest city, Casper, the temperature stays below freezing for 189 days every year, on average. The city’s average low temperature runs 14 degrees in December and January, and only 16 in February.
Like I said, really, really cold.
And that’s a problem for trucker and OOIDA member Tim Kessler.
“I do a dedicated route,” Kessler said. “I go basically from Denver to Casper and back every day, and my days end up being in Casper.”
Tim could idle his truck. He says that in his experience, Wyoming doesn’t have a lot of idling bans.
But running costs were on his mind. Yes, the fuel to idle, but also running time on the engine.
“If you’re looking at a gallon an hour, and you figure $4 a gallon fuel, you’re talking $40 a night to sit there and have the truck run to stay warm or to stay cool,” he said. “And I already spent a whole bunch of money with Caterpillar going through the motor.”
“I really didn’t want to have to do it again because of that.”
So Tim Kessler started looking for an alternative. Something that could keep his truck warm in that winter weather, something to cool in the summer, something that would operate when the keys are in the “off” position. He also needed that alternative to be something that would be available along his regular, dedicated run, something that would be there when he stopped.
And after some looking, he found it.
“One day, I was going into the Eastgate Travel Plaza there in Evansville, which is a suburb of Casper, and they had a sign up. They had Shorepower,” Kessler said. “I’m thinking, ‘that’s a really neat idea.’”
Tim’s not alone in thinking that shorepower is a neat idea. More and more truckers are looking at that type of system to cut down their idling time, and it’s becoming more common along America’s highways.
Shorepower sounds like something you would find along a lake or ocean. Alan Bates, of the company Shorepower, says that’s no coincidence.
“The name comes from the marine industry, where a boat would pull up at the shore, plug in and basically be able to use grid-based power to power their on-board systems,” Bates said. “Since then, that name really has become synonymous with any form of plug-in capability, whether that be on a boat or an RV or a long-haul truck.”
The idea is one that fits well with the current demands of trucking – especially the wide proliferation of idling bans.
Every year, Land Line Magazine publishes a guide to idling laws across the country. Last year’s guide listed idling restrictions or bans in all or parts of 31 states. And every year, the number, variety and complexity of those laws increases.
Most diesel trucks burn about a gallon of fuel an hour idling. With the typical 10-hour rest period and fuel at $4 a gallon, that means $40 a night in fuel. For the typical trucker who spends 200 nights or more away from home each year, that could amount to $8,000 or more every year in idling fuel costs.
APUs – auxiliary power units – and other on-truck idling alternatives help, but many still burn fuel, and other truckers may complain about the exhaust they create, despite its being far less tha