TORONTO — Despite IdleAire’s supposed shut down last month, there’s still a strong market for electric shore power solutions, the company’s competitors insist.
As todaystrucking.com first reported last week, the truckstop anti-idling solutions provider is now saying it might not be ready to pull the plug after all, but in the meantime, its startup rivals are considering how to pick up marketshare in during IdleAire’s absence.
While IdleAire’s troubles has many in the industry wondering if truckstop electrification is a viable business, Jeff Kim, the president of Shorepower Technologies, says the demand certainly exists.
He says his company’s business model is simpler and less costly than IdleAire’s infrastructure-heavy "off board" truckstop electrification parking spaces.
Shorepower’s pedestal system places a 110-volt power outlet and connections for cable television and Internet between four spaces, dramatically reducing physical assets and cost.
"We focus on the power, that way the drivers have the flexibility to use whatever they want onboard the truck," Kim tells Today’s Trucking.
President of EnviroDock Ken Neal says that IdleAire was the pioneer for shore power, but the technology offered too many services already available inside a truckstop.
“The problem with IdleAir is they built a system that had everything on there so it was very expensive (to produce),” he says. He says truckers are concerned with just the basics: power, heat and cooling.
In the future, says Shorepower marketing director Alan Bates, there will be a GPS-enabled reservation system and the power pedestal could draw from renewable power sources like wind and solar.
As for taking over the assets left behind by IdleAire? “I’m not saying we will (take over those spaces), but we are looking at it as an opportunity,” says Kim.
Both companies say they eventually want to expand into Canada, but considering they only have nine truckstops set up between them, a Canadian invasion appears to be a long way off.
It comes down to how interested truckstop operators are in the technology, says Neal. “(EnviroDock) has the type of unit that would work well up there.”
— with files from Farrah Cole
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