Next Generation Truck Stops
January 11, 2004 6:14 PM   Subscribe

Neato Next Generation Truck Stops IANAT (I am not a trucker), so I had no idea trucks could just plug into truck stops complete with air conditioning, power, internet, satellite TV, etc. And the bonus is that these facilities are environmentally friendly since the truck doesn't have to be left running all night.
posted by mhh5 (9 comments total)
I was under the impression that one of the reasons trucks were kept running was that a diesel engine uses far more fuel starting then it does idling, therefor it was more cost effective to leave it on.
posted by drezdn at 6:43 PM on January 11, 2004

were kept running was that a diesel engine uses far more fuel starting then it does idling

Logically, that depends how long it's idling you really think it would use less fuel idling for, say, an 8 hour stop-over than it would take to start the truck? There are other considerations, as well; refrigeration units on some trucks may require a constant power source. Also, in very cold climates it can be a pain heating up the diesel coils to start the engine, although block heaters can help.
posted by Jimbob at 7:07 PM on January 11, 2004

The United States Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command's National Automotive Center introduced a Class 8 Freightliner truck with a prototype liquid-fueled, roadworthy fuel cell auxiliary power unit (APU) .... [The] system uses a Ballard Power Systems fuel cell stack and reforming technologies to generate electricity for onboard demands and power external devices ...

And see here "If idling a 600 hp allnight is eating into your paycheck ... "
posted by Jos Bleau at 7:17 PM on January 11, 2004

Remember those ads for motor oil a few years back, that said the worst thing you can do to your engine is start it? There's quite a bit of truth to that; the top part of a motor is starved for oil in the first few seconds after startup, and most wear happens then. Not shuttin' 'em down reduces this wear and tear, I guess...

As an aside, when a diesel engine gets cold (literally, or just back to ambient temperature) you have to heat up something called a glow plug in each cylinder to assist the fuel in igniting (diesels don't have spark plugs - the fuel ignites solely because of heat and pressure).
posted by notsnot at 7:42 PM on January 11, 2004

NY's law on truck idling is no more then 5 minutes. I'm pretty sure the 5 minute logic is because starting equals around 5 minutes of idling's fuel consumption.

Anyway, I've seen several of these systems (the big tube ones) and they do look pretty cool. I'm not so sure about 'taking up spaces' though, most of the installs I've seen seem to be in the exact same space, or at least very close to it.

I should ask my friend's dad who drives what he thinks of them.
posted by stryder at 7:44 PM on January 11, 2004

"..paid for in part by the nearby Coastal Eagle Point refinery, as part of an October settlement of state and federal pollution violations."


The article says over a billion gallons are burned a year from idleing. Insane.

On a recent cross country trip where I lived in my SUV with all the electronics it was easier to never turn the truck off unless it was off for more than 20 or 30 minutes because you have to shut down the computers, GPS systems, restart everything, the GPS has to reposition, re-open the loging etc.. granted this could be solved with a UPS which I will probably do the next trip. Truckers have all the same gear and problems so it is not so seemless a switch there will probably be some drivers who do it the old easy way.
posted by stbalbach at 8:45 PM on January 11, 2004

There is a big difference between not turning off a short-haul courier van at every stop and leaving a 700 or so cubic inch engine running for eight hours - there is no way you would do this to avoid start-up wear or fuel consumption (avoiding freezing to death would be a good reason, however), as the wear and consumption from 8 hours idling would be far in excess of that to start the engine. Modern synthetic oils have improved a great deal in the past few years, also and provide a much higher degree of protection after engine shut-down that the old mineral oils did.

Having spent a couple of nights in the back of a semi, I can really see the appeal of these systems from both ecological and simple comfort viewpoints.

As far as running electronics, it would be more sensible to by-pass the ignition switch for these items and run the power source directly from the battery. The only issue would be the sudden power drain when cranking, which could be solved with a secondary battery charged by the alternator, but not used to crank the engine.
posted by dg at 9:19 PM on January 11, 2004

No Lot Lizards!
posted by Hankins at 5:36 AM on January 12, 2004

Is it wrong that when I first read this posting, I thought it was going to be about trekkie truckers?
posted by jearbear at 6:59 AM on January 12, 2004

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