“The fleet turned to battery-powered APUs and had mixed success with battery life – especially in blistering summer heat. “That’s gotten better since we changed brands,” he says. “We’re now standard with the Idle Free system which has shorepower connections.”
“Shorepower is a technology that allows truck drivers to turn off their engines and plug their vehicles into all-weather electrical and communication outlets during rest periods.
“Since we do have shorepower connectivity, our drivers plug in when they can,” explains Jones. “The benefit of shorepower is it runs our trucks’ hotel loads and the HVAC system, plus it recharges the trucks’ batteries.
“We feel shorepower is a perfect complement to our battery system and it’s been a long time coming to the trucking industry. If you go to an RV park, there are plug-ins. If you go to a marina, all the pleasure boats are plugged in. More truckstops are offering the electrical pedestals, but not near enough.”
“While Mesilla Valley vehicles are fully APU outfitted to use batteries and shorepower when available, a high percentage of its sleeper cabs don’t have an APU. For those, the only way to run the HVAC system is to idle – at the cost of about a gallon of diesel per hour, Jones says.
“That’s when AC power at truckstops can make a huge difference, says Alan Bates, vice president of marketing for Shorepower Technologies…”