Blog

Mon Jun 18 2012

Great for Gaming

IdleAir is great for gaming! IdleAir offers a secure, high-speed wired internet connection as part of the IdleAir Broadband options. With IdleAir’s high-speed, wired ethernet connection, you can enjoy gaming in your truck without worrying about dropped signals and other interference. IdleAir customers can connect their Xbox and PlayStation(R) PS3 consoles, and enjoy live gaming with friends and family around the world.

IdleAir Premium Service not only saves you money, but also includes 120V electricity to power all your game consoles and peripherals.

See services and prices for a complete list of IdleAir Broadband options and prices.

How to Use your Xbox, PS3, or Game Console at IdleAir:
1. Press the ethernet button on the home screen of the service module.
2. Power up your device and plug it in.
3. If your device is an Xbox or PS3 console, press “Yes”. If your device has a browser, click “No”. These steps are not necessary, because you should open a browser on your device to continue.
4. IdleAir will detect your device. If not, try restarting your device.
5. You will be taken to the IdleAir Broadband page to log in.
6. Log in to IdleAir Broadband.
7. If necessary, add time to your IdleAir Broadband account. You can pay with funds on your member card, or with a Visa, MasterCard, or AMEX.
8. From the account page, next to the detected devices’ MAC address the “Activate Device” link.
9. IdleAir will confirm success of the connection. Your device is now online and active. Good luck with your game!

Questions about using your gaming console at IdleAir? Please call customer support at (877) 738-7024.

Sun Jun 03 2012

Knoxville News Sentinel: IdleAir Keeps On Truckin’

KNOXVILLE’S IDLEAIR KEEPS ON TRUCKIN’

Originally published here: https://m.knoxnews.com/news/2012/jun/03/knoxvilles-idleair-keeps-on-truckin/

By Josh Flory
Published Sunday, June 3, 2012

Photo by Adam Brimer
IdleAir faces plenty of the challenges that come with running an early-stage business,but it isn’t exactly a start-up. Instead, you might call the Knoxville firm a jump-start.

With its headquarters in a small industrial complex near I-640, a new team is hoping the third time’s a charm for the company that provides services to truckers who don’t want to leave their engines running while they rest.

In its first iteration, IdleAire Technologies was a local start-up that aimed to put a green spin on the long-haul trucking industry and attracted capital from a wide swath of East Tennessee investors who were hoping to hit it big when the company went public. That dream ended in a 2008 bankruptcy filing, and later that year the company’s assets were sold for $26 million to a group of investors who tried to relaunch the company. That encore also failed and in January, 2010, IdleAire, Inc., announced that it would close.

A few months later, though, an investment group called Convoy Solutions announced plans to restart the company’s service at more than two dozen locations.

The CEO of Convoy Solutions is Ethan Garber, a former junk-bond trader with Bear Stearns who became familiar with the company while working as a consultant for its former owner.Garber said the new investors are mostly wealthy individuals, many with a background in turnarounds and bankruptcy.

The challenges are numerous. For one thing, the company has said TravelCenters of America removed IdleAir’s equipment from many of its locations and according to Garber, IdleAir bought that material back from the demolition teams that removed it. TravelCenters of America did not respond to an interview request.

Another hurdle is the company’s reputation after previous false starts. While IdleAir at one time had 131 locations in 34 states, it was operating 26 locations in late May with two more pending and an additional 10 sites in the active planning stages.

Mike Fielden, a University of Tennessee graduate and logistics veteran,is the company’s president and said that “it’s taken a long time for people to even understand that this company is in business. They saw places being removed … and when someone has seen that, that sticks in their mind pretty well, to (the extent that) when they see it up that doesn’t mean they think it’s open.”

IdleAir’s facilities feature truss-like stations where drivers can hook to a module that provides heating, air-conditioning, electricity and other services directly into their cab. By using those services for an hourly fee, the drivers don’t have to leave their engine running overnight.

Fielden said the company had made some stylistic changes, dropping the second “e” from the company’s name and tinkering with the logo. He added that “we decided that improving the image of the brand and repairing the image of the brand was better than starting a new one,” he said.

More substantively, IdleAir has streamlined some of its operating practices. Fielden said the company once had four data centers but now has only one,and has reduced the number of on-site workers.Those employees also have incentives — based on factors such as hours of use and sales — built into their compensation packages, rather than simply drawing an hourly check.

Garber said the company now breaks even when it comes to profitability at the site level,with small profits beginning to cover corporate overhead. “We think that we’ll probably be cash-flow positive by the beginning of next year,” he added.

Linda Gaines, a transportation systems analyst at the Argonne National Laboratory, near Chicago, said IdleAir is on a much better track than it had been, and that the new management team is “pretty sharp.”

“They’re specifically looking for sites with good occupancy. They’re cutting their costs compared to the original company. They’re going out of their way to sort of develop a very positive public image,” she said, adding that the new company’s up-front capital cost was much lower than the original company.

IdleAir’s full-service approach isn’t the only strategy being developed to reduce the emissions from idling. Onboard units, for example, represent a higher up-front investment for drivers but allow them to power up at any location.Another option is a “shorepower” system, in which truck stops install electrical facilities that drivers can plug into, although that option also requires drivers to carry some equipment with them.

Garber, the company’s CEO, said IdleAir has signed up more than 20,000 drivers since it relaunched in 2010 and is aiming for a network of around 100 locations.

“We’re risking our own money to try to right IdleAir and let it realize the potential that it already showed (a) significant likelihood of being able to reward its customers and employees with,” he said.

Sat Nov 26 2011

IdleAir Walks to Support Cancer Survivors

On Sunday, November 13, 2011, several members of the IdleAir team joined 5,000 other participants in the 2011 BUDDY’S Race Against Cancer to benefit the Thompson Cancer Survival Center Foundation’s Cancer Outreach Services program: www.buddysrace.org.

The Thompson Cancer Survival Center serves patients in Knox County and 17 surrounding counties, providing cancer screenings and education to the medically underserved, who have never received or could not otherwise afford such services.

The IdleAir team donated $705 to support this cause. The IdleAir team is proud to participate in BUDDY’s Race Against Cancer, helping to save lives and walking in honor and in memory of many loved ones.

Fri Nov 11 2011

IdleAir Salutes Our Veterans


“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” – Elmer Davis

This Veterans Day, IdleAir salutes our veterans and thanks them for their service.

On 11/11/11, the Claysville, PA Petro (I-70 Exit 6) is becoming “Veterans Petro”. In honor of all those who served, IdleAir is providing FREE Premium Service at Claysville’s Veterans Petro through midnight this Veterans Day.

Also this Veterans Day, IdleAir is thanking every veteran with a $5.00 IdleAir gift card at all our other locations nation-wide. For a complete list of locations, please visit https://www.IdleAir.com/locations

From all of us at IdleAir, THANK YOU!

Wed Oct 12 2011

IdleAir Employee Helps Save a Driver’s Life

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
IdleAir at Jackson, GA

Today at the IdleAir in Jackson, GA, an IdleAir site representative, Amanda, gave emergency CPR to a driver, helping save his life.

Amanda was at the right place at the right time: “The driver was parked behind the IdleAir office. He hadn’t been there very long. I think he had just pulled in while I was cleaning and doing maintenance.”

Two other drivers were walking to the restaurant when they saw the sick driver slump over. They got him set in his bunk.

Amanda remembers, “I had a driver call me over to the truck to say that the ambulance was on its way. While we were waiting, the driver collapsed. It all happened very quickly.”

Always ready, Amanda is CPR certified and keeps a CPR kit in the back of her car. While the other drivers were getting the sick driver laid down on his bunk, Amanda ran to get her CPR kit. Amanda performed CPR for about five minutes before the paramedics arrived.

When the paramedics arrived, they saw swelling of the abdomen, and suspected the driver might have congestive heart failure. The paramedics said it could have been a number of things, like exhaustion, but without Amanda’s help, he would have been in trouble.

Amanda wasn’t done yet. “I just wanted to make sure that his load was ok so that he doesn’t get in trouble with his company on top of everything else. If his load needs to be somewhere, someone should come get it because it could be a few days before the driver gets out of the hospital.”

No one had a chance to get the driver’s name before the paramedics arrived, but Amanda saw the driver’s truck number, and called IdleAir customer support for help. The driver’s company is an IdleAir customer, and the IdleAir team knew just who to call. Within no time, the company sent two drivers to pick up the load. One driver was already a long-time IdleAir customer, and the other signed up on the spot. He’s spending his HOS at IdleAir, and then leaving tomorrow morning to deliver the sick driver’s load to Pennsylvania – on time and on schedule!

But Amanda still wasn’t done. She found out which hospital the sick driver was taken to, and called to find out that the driver is doing better and is in stable condition.

IdleAir has a partnership with the travel center, and gives drivers meal coupons to the restaurant. Amanda took one of the free meal coupons and made a get well soon note with some extra good news: the driver’s company pays for IdleAir. So the next time the driver wants to enjoy a quiet night’s rest (outside of the hospital!), all he needs to do is pull in to any IdleAir and friendly site representatives, like Amanda, will take care of the rest.

On behalf of everyone at IdleAir, we wish the sick driver a full and speedy recovery, and thank Amanda for going the extra mile. Stay safe, and we’ll see you soon at IdleAir.

Fri Sep 30 2011

American Energy Independence at IdleAir

IdleAir is proud to support American Energy Independence. We use homegrown electric power from domestic resources, so our customers can sleep better at night knowing that they’re supporting American workers and keeping American dollars here at home.

But we’re doing even more: IdleAir is installing American-made solar panels at select locations, like the 20kw of panels that have been installed at our IdleAir location in White Pine, TN.

Solar panels create American construction jobs and create more clean homegrown electric power. The solar panels in White Pine, TN create enough electricity to power 50% of IdleAir’s daytime requirements for providing cooling and heating. The solar panels also create shading for our HVAC units and customers’ truck cabs, which keeps drivers even cooler and uses less electricity for air conditioning.

Thank you for supporting IdleAir and American Energy Independence.

Thu Sep 08 2011

Overdrive Magazine: Truck Stop Electrification

Overdrive Magazine
August 7, 2011
“Plugged In”
by: Max Kvidera

https://www.overdriveonline.com/feature-story/

https://www.digitalmagazinetechnology.com/a/?KEY=overdrive-11-08august#page=29

In an era of idling prohibitions and $4 fuel, the power switch is back on for truck stop electrification.

Given a choice between a truck stop that offers shore power and one that doesn’t, owner-operator Michael Ben-Dror leaves no doubt where his loyalties lie: “I will choose the one that does.”

Ben-Dror, leased to Anderson Trucking Service, doesn’t face that choice most of the time. At mid-year, a U.S. Department of Energy database listed just 40 truck stops that offer electrical hookups, although more installations are expected this year and the next.

Yet for the first time since the former IdleAire abruptly closed its doors in early 2010, providers of truck stop electrification (TSE) are jumping into the market. At least five companies are negotiating with truck stops and building new sites. Though truckers and truck stop operators have been cautious about embracing the new technology, TSE is expected to spread as state and local governments impose more idling restrictions and diesel fuel prices remain high and volatile.

TSE company reps are fond of noting the chicken-or-egg dilemma facing the industry: Must the electric network expand before more usage will occur? Or must operator demand first increase before there is more infrastructure development? For now, federal grants aimed at reducing carbon emissions and idling remain the primary funding source for expanding the infrastructure.

Jim Bianco, owner of TSE provider CabAire, acknowledges his company is in the business because of federal and state funding. For now, he says, “We probably will not go out on our own.”

Other TSE providers say the key to stimulating truck stop operator investment will be greater demand from owner-operators and fleets willing to pay $1 or $2 an hour for service. Yet carriers are reluctant to commit to retrofits and new vehicles with on-board electric outlets or inverter/chargers unless a TSE infrastructure is in place to accommodate them, says Alan Bates, Shorepower Technologies director of marketing and strategic development. Only 20 percent to 30 percent of today’s trucks are equipped with outlets.

“I think owner-operators who are paying their own expenses are going to be your early adopters,” says Ken Neal, president of EnviroDock, a TSE service provider with three installations.

“Items 1 through 5 are trucker education,” says Jonathan Overly, executive director of the East Tennessee Clean Cities Coalition. “If we drive the benefits to the truckers and they speak to the travel plazas about putting in the equipment,” he contends, plaza operators will listen.

Those truck stop operators also need education, says Dave Orton, marketing manager at Cascade Sierra Solutions, an Oregon-based non-profit involved in reducing diesel emissions and saving fuel. “The technology is viable and will expand … but there’s been a half-step backward to overcome.”

A few years ago, the industry was more than three times its current size. The pioneering Knoxville, Tenn.-based IdleAire operated thousands of stations at 130 sites in 34 states. Its invention of providing not just electricity, but in-cab hot and cold air and telecommunications services won awards and attracted devoted users.

Within a few years of its founding, though, its labor-heavy operation and haphazard site selection (some highway exits had three separate installations) led to large losses. The company declared bankruptcy in 2008. Bondholders ran IdleAire while seeking new owners, then closed the company in 2010. Later that year, new investors Convoy Solutions bought the intellectual property and assets, reopened more than 20 sites and shortened the name to IdleAir, hoping for a fresh start.

IdleAir has accumulated equipment from the TA sites, says Mike Fielden, chief operating officer of IdleAir, and plans “to redeploy at truck stop chains and independent sites.” Equipment is available at about 1,000 positions at Pilot/Flying J, Sapp Bros., Love’s and a few franchise TA and Petro facilities in nine states.

Fielden says the company, which has adopted a lower-cost business model, is looking to add sites in truck-heavy East Coast corridors and Southern California. “We want to build back to 100 sites over the next two to three years,” he says.

IdleAir has to deal with jaded truck stops, as well as trucker complaints about past service. For example, some users say they would get smoky air from a previous user. To combat that, every location has a “hotel-grade cleaning machine to clean HVAC units after each usage,” Fielden says. Plus IdleAir attendants are on hand during peak times to clean the units and assist customers, he says, with the busiest locations employing more than one.

TSE “should be attractive for truck stops because the entire cost of infrastructure, for the most part, is paid for by DOE contracts,” Orton says of the Shorepower Truck Electrification Project his organization is working on with Shorepower Technologies to provide electrical plug-in pedestals at 50 sites. “It’s revenue-generating opportunity for them.”

TravelCenters of America, which removed all IdleAire units from its facilities, is monitoring electrification demand and alternatives before making investments, says Tom Liutkus, marketing vice president. He says the company is also evaluating driver use of auxiliary power units. In a TA poll, 38 percent of drivers said they had an APU and another 18 percent said they planned to buy one within 12 months.

“Depending on the success of APUs in penetrating the market more quickly, TSE alternatives might become less important on truck stop parking lots,” he says.

For truckers, the appeal is finding an affordable option that reduces idling, engine wear and fuel costs and is easy to use. Electrification costs range from $1 to $1.99 an hour, sometimes with a setup fee.

Truckers also are confronting a growing array of state and local jurisdictions that ban idling or limit it to a few minutes. “Tough part for law enforcement is how do you go to a truck driver, say, in Massachusetts when it’s zero degrees out and tell him he has to turn off his engine,” Neal says.

The TSE market is wide open for growth, and not just at truck stops. Service providers are also approaching ports, distribution centers, warehouses and toll road rest areas. The question is if and how quickly installations will materialize, and the extent of continued government funding.

Sales Manager Roger Southall of TSE provider AireDock is optimistic about the answers: “By 2013 we’ll be all over the place.”

Where to hook up

The U.S. Department of Energy keeps an online list of truck stop electrification sites, including details about offerings at each one. Visit www.afdc.energy.gov, search for “truck stop electrification,” select “site locator,” and then “view all stations.”

TSE PROVIDERS

Other than IdleAir, which has close to half of the existing TSE sites in place, here are the other four providers and their plans.

Shorepower Technologies offers a simple system: electricity via an extension cord connected to a stationary pedestal. The Portland, Ore.-based company has seven installations in Washington State and Oregon and another in Kenly, N.C. The sites include six to 12 pedestals, each serving two to four trucks.

They’re teaming up with Cascade Sierra Solutions to locate TSE at 50 truck stops under the Shorepower Truck Electrification Project, funded by a $20 million U.S. Department of Energy grant. Target installation sites are along major truck lanes, such as I-5, I-10, I-70, I-80, I-90 and I-95.

Dave Orton of CSS says the goal is to have the sites with an average of 24 charging connections installed by 2012. STEP also will provide rebate money to independent owner-operators and fleets to retrofit vehicles with idle-reduction equipment.

Truck stop reception has been mixed. “If a truck stop had previous experience with IdleAire, then they may have a negative impression,” says Shorepower’s Alan Bates. “If the operator has a vision of truck stop electrification that’s coming, they are on board.”

AireDock’s system delivers filtered air for heating and cooling and power for in-cab use. The Belchertown, Mass.-based company’s Roger Southall says it has 10 sites installed or in progress, with plans for more than 500 units in place at 20 sites this year.

Southall says most of the funding comes from federal grants or economic stimulus funds. The ownership options are for truck stops to apply for grants and own units – Southall says few have applied – or for AireDock to apply for grants, own the units and share revenue with the truck stop.

Potential sites are being identified within geographic areas with high pollution concentration.

CabAire, a division of electronics manufacturer Control Module Industries, has sites installed at truck stops and state-run travel centers on turnpikes. The Enfield, Conn.-based company, which is also providing electrification at the Port of New Haven, Conn., is testing its Lombardi Travel Plaza installation on the New Jersey Turnpike to see if TSE is viable. The company is pitching its service to fleets and truckers, offering giveaways and posting a video in the drivers’ lounge. “We want to see if it will make a difference,” Bianco says. “If we can make it work at Lombardi, we stand a chance at other places. If it won’t work at Lombardi, it won’t work anywhere.”

EnviroDock offers various products. The E-Dock stationary unit is mounted to a concrete pedestal that delivers filtered air through a window control panel. A unit on wheels can be moved where needed. Its product lineup also includes a stationary shore power unit called PowrDock that provides power to trucks that are shore power-capable or have electric APUs.

Ken Neal says the company is also working on a battery-powered portable system that will be independent of the power grid. To date, the company of Ashland, Va., has limited visibility, with small installations at the Port of Albany, N.Y., a Canaan, N.Y., truck stop and its largest presence with 30 E-Dock and 10 PowrDock units at a Dandridge, Tenn., travel plaza.

“We’ve found truck stop owners are still hesitant to put in truck stop electrification,” Neal says. “They don’t understand the return on investment yet.”

WHAT THE USERS SAYS

Charles Claburn

A former owner-operator who now drives the truck owned by “Ice Road Truckers” competition winner Ray Veilleux, Claburn is a TSE devotee. “I loved it because I didn’t have to idle the truck, and I could watch TV,” says Claburn, who lives in upstate New York. “It’s 375 miles from one end of New York State to the other and the state has very tough idling laws. When you couldn’t find a place to hook up, you risked getting a ticket. It’s the same in a lot of other states.”

So Claburn carefully plans his hauls of farm machinery and specialized equipment, looking for truck stops with electric service. “At $1.25 an hour you can’t beat it,” he says. “For example, I stopped in West Memphis, Ark., rather than go across Arkansas because I didn’t think I could find IdleAir where I was going. I deliberately shorted myself eight hours of drive time because I wanted to be comfortable for the weekend and not burn $4-a-gallon fuel.”

Michael Ben-Dror

An owner-operator leased to Anderson Trucking Service, Ben-Dror used to connect three to four times a week, but now he only finds service a couple times a month. “We lost so many locations in areas where I spend a majority of my time,” he says, which has been mostly east of the Mississippi River.

As an early customer, York, Pa.-based Ben-Dror has window adapters for using IdleAir and CabAire heating/cooling equipment. He’s upset that some truck stops have removed TSE stations. “It makes no sense to me with the emphasis on going green and [reducing] the carbon footprint that we lose the ability to turn off our trucks,” he says, adding that he lets the truck stops know they should offer the service.

Ben-Dror says TSE saved him a big tow bill. His alternator was failing and the truck stop couldn’t fix it. He knew if he turned off the truck, he wouldn’t be able to start it again. Instead, he used an IdleAir extension cord to get power. “I charged my batteries all night and was able to start the truck the next morning and drive it to the dealership,” he says.

Bryan Richardson

The owner-operator, who runs B&R Transport from Long Beach, Calif., plugged into IdleAire a few times before the company shut down and used AireDock service once in Florida.

After idling through too much diesel, though, he bought a $200 generator a year ago. He cranks up the generator when he needs heating and puts a $100 portable air conditioner in his truck window when he wants cooling.

He says the generator holds four gallons of diesel, costing him about $16 to run overnight, compared with more than twice that amount of diesel when idling. “I got tired of waking up in the morning and seeing my fuel gauge was down a bit from idling,” he says.

Richardson says it requires a little effort to set up his generator outside his truck, but it’s cheaper than an auxiliary power unit or idling.

Richardson’s only complaint with TSE is that many parking stalls were set up for bobtails and didn’t have enough space to accommodate tractor-trailers.

Bill Brady

The Las Vegas-based owner-operator, leased to Landstar, says he used the former IdleAire dozens of times before it closed.

Brady says he had a few connectivity problems with IdleAire’s Internet. The heating and AC suited him, although he says he would have wanted cooler temperatures. “What I didn’t like was when the time ran out, it ran out immediately,” he says. “I didn’t like the way they had the payment system set up.” He also recalls the service was increasing in price before it was shut down.

Brady is waiting to find TSE where he runs. In the meantime, he’s idling when he takes breaks. “I don’t have much choice,” he says. “They should concentrate on the states that have no-idle laws. For us it’s getting a little ridiculous to pay these [fuel] prices.”

Rick Butler

Leased to E&H Transport of Carlsbad, Calif., the owner-operator picks up slot machines in Reno, Nev., and delivers them around the country. He used Shorepower and the former IdleAire up to four times a week. “It was nice to go where they had IdleAire and less idling,” he recalls. “You get a lot better sleep.”

Butler, a former IdleAire Gold member, says he would look for specials the company offered to get reduced rates or free hours. Occasionally, tractor-trailers were parked in spaces designated for TSE, including wide loads that grabbed extra space. “They leased the spaces but it didn’t guarantee a slot,” he says. “You could call ahead and it would work out sometimes, but not always.”

Butler says he could use IdleAir now for the shore power to run his CPAP machine for his sleep apnea instead of the extra battery he uses for it. “I charge my spare truck battery, connect an inverter and use that for microwave, TV or to recharge something,” he says.

WIRED AT CROSSVILLE

Finding truck stops that offer electrification is difficult, but the Eco Travel Plaza in Crossville, Tenn., beats them all.

The independently owned facility, on I-40 about 70 miles west of Knoxville, is the only truck stop in the U.S. that offers power at all of its parking spaces – in this case, 50. In addition, equipment from two service providers – AireDock and Shorepower Technologies – is available.

Eco Travel Plaza also stands out by using solar power to generate 35 kilowatts of its power needs. The business extends its green commitment by using LED lighting; recycling glass, paper and plastic; and applying window film to reduce heat and air conditioning usage.

The facility’s owners received a $580,000 EPA grant to install equipment and kicked in $300,000 of their own.

“This location stands out because it shows what can be done to reduce Class 8 truck idling and make it comfortable for drivers – a win-win for everyone,” says Jonathan Overly, of the East Tennessee Clean Fuels Coalition that collaborated on the project.

Wed Aug 31 2011

Allen Smith: “Truck Stop Electrification Gaining Momentum”

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/truthabouttrucking/2011/09/02/truck-stop-electrification-gaining-momentum

Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 7pm ET

Truck stop electrification (TSE), examined in-depth in the August 2011 edition of Overdrive magazine, is one way to avoid truck idling and get comfortable in your rig during rest periods. As a handful of companies are slowly adding electrified parking spots in installations on major interstates, others remain leery of hosting electrification providers and are taking a wait-and-see attitude. Is the electrification industry regaining momentum? Find out what you can expect for the future of TSE with our guest, Overdrive Senior Editor, Max Kvidera, on this broadcast of Truth About Trucking “Live”.

Call in number to speak with the host
(347) 826-9170

Tue Aug 16 2011

IdleAir on the Steve Sommers Show: Wed 8/17/11

On Wednesday, August 17, 2011, Steve Sommers interviewed IdleAir CEO Ethan Garber and IdleAir President and COO, Mike Fielden on America’s Trucking Network. They discussed new locations opening nation-wide, IdleAir pricing, and took caller’s questions.

The show originally broadcast live, on Wednesday, August 17, from 12:01am ET until 5:00am ET. Free podcast recordings of the show are available to stream or download at any time:
https://www.700wlw.com/cc-common/podcast/single_page.html?podcast=late_night

Wed Jul 13 2011