High Powered eBike Camping: Enter the Realm of Highly Compromised Decisions and Deeply Ambivalent Feelings


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Tire chart for 20mm inner rim width is 30mm to 50mm tire width.



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My 2015 Specialized Diverge has a surprising amount of flex. If you push all of your weight on the frame to bend the bike like a pair of skis, the bike flexes much more than you might expect.


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I would probably get the Salza Cutthroat as a mechanical bike for Tour Divide. The specifications can be compared to see how much the Creo differs from an ideal bike.

Our riding experiences on the Great Divide Mountain Biking Route have allowed us to develop a perfect Tour Divide bike that’s capable of much more. The Cutthroat GRX 600 delivers the precise performance of Shimano’s latest drivetrain technology and the carbon frame and fork are purpose-built to go the distance—any distance—with all-day comfort in mind. Whether you’re out wandering or chasing waypoints on a weeks-long bikepacking race, Cutthroat is the tool for the job.

Redesigned Carbon Fork +With 32% more compliance over the previous-generation Cutthroat fork and new abrasion-resistant plates in high-wear areas, the new Cutthroat Carbon fork is designed for the rigors of rides that cover multiple road surfaces in unpredictable conditions

EvanGravel forks such as the Lauf Grit or the Fox Ax are much to short for the Cutthroat, which is more on the mountain bike side of things design-wise. Running a fork that much shorter will lower the BB and change the angles and is not recommended though you can run a 100mm fork on the Cutthroat if need be. As I mentioned the Cutthroat is closer to a mountain bike, which is reflected in its intended usage and testing rating (ASTM 3), and 10mm suspension fork compatibility. For any kind of riding close to what the Cutthroat was designed around, that small of a tire will cause pedal strike when turning sharply or going over obstacles, made worse if you are running wide platform pedals. The Warbird is a true gravel bike, designed and tested around gravel (ASTM 2) and is not a mountain bike, and thus narrower tires are okay. In the end its all about what the bike was designed around, and the Cutthroat and Warbird are two very different bikes in that regard.

Similar to what i had on my Yeti ASRC.

Front WheelWTB Speedterra Hub, WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 32h Rim, 15 x 110 mm
Rear WheelWTB Speedterra Hub, WTB ST i23 TCS 2.0 32h Rim, 12 x 148 mm
TiresTeravail Sparwood 29 x 2.2" Durable, Tubeless Ready
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The bike geometries sure look different by comparing pictures. I should probably take both on the trip. I would feel totally comfortable knowing i can handle all terrain well. I suspect there is a significant amount of overlap between the two bikes.

I start to get worried when a bike weighs more than 30 pounds.

The amount of bike equipment will have a large bearing on the type of vehicle. Straight away, the Toyota RAV4 Prime is much less desirable than the 2021 Toyota Sienna.

I'm starting to see advantages of taking both a mechanical and electrical bike. Both the eBike and extender battery can be charged at the same time, while i ride another bike. I don't want any kind of bike that weighs more than 30 pounds.



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The Grand Teton NP, WY to Steamboat Springs, CO leg of the Tour Divide is essentially 400 miles of flat riding. I don't think i would enjoy the Cutthroat very much on this leg.

Wyoming can turn into a wind tunnel.

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I've developed a concept called "complementary" electrical and mechanical bikes to explain how the pair work together to synergistically cover the vast differences on Tour Divide. Terrain is one obvious difference. Charging is a more subtle difference. Charging time is 2.5 hours. The Creo main battery is practically non-removable. The range of extender batteries is a meager 40 miles.

I refer to the Creo as a "hybrid", rather than an "eBike", because of the frictionless decoupling of the motor. The Creo functions equally well with or without electrical power. The Creo is "complementary" unto itself. My initial strategy to avoid recharging for distances over 100 miles, was to decouple the motor to pedal without electric assistance. A much more complementary approach is to carry both a mechanical and electrical bike. A pair of powered and unpowered bikes substantially reduces the high voltage requirements on the vehicle.

The RAV4 Prime battery capacity is ten times larger than the 2021 Sienna. A pair of complementary bikes makes the 2021 Sienna a much more feasible tool, compared to the RAV4 Prime. Reducing the high voltage needs is a much more effective approach.

The RAV4 has an optional 6.6Wh Level 2 charger, which reduces charging time to 2.5 hours. I found Level 2 charging to be non-existant on the 400 miles between Grand Teton NP, WY and Steamboat Springs, CO. The 2021 Sienna is a "mild hybrid", rather than a "full hybrid" or Plugin (PHEV), which is a big advantage on stationless legs of the Tour Divide.

The 2021 Sienna and RAV4 Prime have a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) or Split Power architecture, which allows the high voltage electrical system to function as an electrical generator when idling. This feature is not available on some hybrid architectures, because the gas engine only runs at speeds over 45mph. The motor-generator 1 or MG1 compensates for the small HV batteries found in mild hybrids.

The mechanical function of decoupling the motor from the drivetrain is present on both the Creo eBike and 2021 Sienna minivan. Another peculiar similarity between the two is they are both high voltage. The Creo is a 48VDC system.

Unless you completely separate the high voltage electrical system from the drivetrain in your thinking of a hybrid, you will be unable to find the most appropriate solution.

All of a sudden the 2021 Sienna has become a realistic option.
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How to fast charge an eBike just occurred to me: a DC-to-DC fast charger, rather than traditional AC-to-DC charging. A major component of the Toyota electrical system is the DC-to-DC converter, which transforms 300VDC to 12VDC. Fast charging generally charges 80% in 30 minutes.

The DC-to-AC inverter that provides 110VAC power is adjacent to or part of the DC-to-DC converter. An AC-to-DC rectifier is the complementary device.

An eBike fast charger would solve many problems. It would solve my fundamental objection to eBikes: the low operation-to-charging time ratio. A 50:1 ratio is the compelling point. Some people might refer to this as range anxiety.

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Simplification Rule #7: Seek Synergy from Complementary Parts; Reduce Overlap with Asymmetry

Two bikes are better than one!

In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang (/jɪn/ and /jɑːŋ, jæŋ/; Chinese: yīnyáng, lit. "dark-bright", "negative-positive") is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.[1] In Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself out of a primary chaos of material energy, organized into the cycles of Yin and Yang and formed into objects and lives. Yin is the receptive and Yang the active principle, seen in all forms of change and difference such as the annual cycle (winter and summer), the landscape (north-facing shade and south-facing brightness), sexual coupling (female and male), the formation of both women and men as characters and sociopolitical history (disorder and order).[2]

The solution for an eBike on the Tour Divide is not a single eBike with a hybrid car. A complementary pair of mechanical and electrical bikes with the 2021 Toyota Sienna is a practical solution. An important part of the solution is to minimize overlap.

I see significant benefit in riding the Specialized Creo to the top of mountain passes. Taking the Salsa Cutthroat down the pass will allow the Creo battery to be recharged inside the Sienna from the 110VAC charger. The eBike version of regenerative braking. Also, ideal tire benefits for climbing and descending. Consider swapping components between bikes, if possible.

Minimize overlap by maximizing asymmetry.
  • Creo ebike customized to enhance fast mountain pass climbing
    • FRONT BRAKEShimano GRX 810 hydraulic disc
      REAR BRAKEShimano GRX 810 hydraulic disc
      REAR DERAILLEURShimano RX812 GX, Shadow Plus, 11-speed
      SHIFT LEVERSShimano GRX 810 hydraulic brake levers, mechanical shifting
      CASSETTESunrace, 11-speed, alloy spider, 11-42t
      CHAINShimano HG601, 11spd
      CRANKSETPraxis, Forged alloy M30, custom offset
      CHAINRINGSPraxis, 46T, 110BCD
  • Cutthroat mechanical bike customized to favor fast mountain pass descents
    • Drivetrain
      Front DerShimano GRX 810
      Rear DerShimano GRX 810
      CassetteShimano HG700-11, 11-34t
      ChainShimano HG601-11
      CranksetRace Face Ride w/ Easton DM 46/30t chainrings
      ShifterShimano GRX 600 Hydro
      Brakes & RotorsShimano GRX 400 Hydro, RT66 160 mm

      HeadsetCane Creek 40
      StemSalsa Guide
  • If I remember correctly, Tour Divide has over 200,000 feet of elevation change.
  • https://bikepacking.com/routes/great-divide-mountain-bike-route-gdmbr/

Categorizing terrain is one approach to minimizing bike overlap. Let's take a look at a few mountain passes in CO along the Tour Divide:

  1. Boreas Pass
    1. Boreas Pass (elevation 11,481 ft (3,499 m)) is a high mountain pass in central Colorado, in the Rocky Mountains of the western United States. The pass is located on the continental divide, at the crest of the Front Range along the border between Park (south) and Summit counties.
  2. Marshall Pass
    1. Marshall Pass, elevation 10,842 ft (3,305 m), is a mountain pass in the Rocky Mountains of central-southern Colorado. It lies in northern Saguache Countyon the Continental Divide between the Sawatch Range to the north and the Cochetopa Hills to the south. The pass is part of a backcountry alternative to U.S. Highway 50 between Salida and Gunnison.
  3. Carnero Pass
    1. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/riogrande/recarea/?recid=29306
    2. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saguache_County,_Colorado
    3. ? Hard to find information, like a black hole.
    4. IMG_1024.PNG
Matching up the Salsa Cutthroat and Specialized Creo for these passes with a 2021 Toyota Sienna will take some time to research.

CO to NM

  1. Palatoro, CO​


  • IMG_1023.PNG
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Beautiful sunrise over Denver this morning. We will probably have another bad air day. Anyhow, a motivational start for the day.




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This bike is similar to my mechanical REI CTY bike. The bike has a modular Topeak rack that is very convenient for shopping.

World’s first modular electric bicycle
The Saigon has a rear and front end snap off/snap-on mounting system. It enables a wide range of modular accessories (MOD) to snap on and snap off. This way, you can turn your e-bike into a new utility, enabling different modes, every time you go on a ride.

The modular mount points in its frame can accept a wide variety of click-in accessories such as food delivery boxes, baskets, pannier rack, child seat and many more.

Moreover, you can also use the front mount point to attach your charger as a backup – in case your battery runs out.
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Drawing power from 12VDC versus HV bus. connecting to HV bus may not be possible due to software .

The undesirable "idle-loop" he alludes to can be controlled by software on the Prime models to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, if you fall asleep. Toyota calls it HV-something-unremarkable. I imagine the voltage regulator in the DC-to-DC converter triggers at some point, or is a simple timer.

He does a good job explaining why a high voltage system is desirable. A traditional gas engine idles to supply 12V electric power via the alternator, which is awful! Separating the HV system from the hybrid concept is crucial to exploiting the electrical capabilities.

The Prius engine, as in most hybrid cars, does not idle in the conventional sense. The high-voltage traction battery powers the car under normal conditions without the engine running. The engine starts from time to time and runs for a few seconds, as needed to keep the traction battery charged. The engine in my Prius runs for only about thirty seconds every five minutes or so when it’s in “Park” with no accessories turned on.

I had to decide how big an inverter I could attach to the 12-Volt battery without overloading the 12-Volt system. In a conventional car, the 12-Volt battery has to be large enough to start the engine, and the alternator must be powerful enough to recharge that battery; but, in the Prius, the 12-Volt battery is much smaller because it does not have to start the engine. How much power can I safely draw without damaging the system? I approached the problem in two different ways. First, I located the circuit diagram for the Prius and I found that the 12-Volt system is protected by a 150A fuse. Certainly, I should not exceed (or even get close) to that limit. Second, I estimated how much current might be drawn, under normal conditions, by the car’s subsystems: headlights, audio system, rear-window heater, A/C fan, etc. If I don’t use any of those while I am using the inverter, that power is available for the inverter. I decided that I could probably draw nearly 1000W without trouble. This corresponds to a current of about 85A at 14V, assuming 85% for inverter efficiency.

After a couple of days of outage, some of our neighbors got generators. And then the gas shortage came. That’s when I realized that the Prius-with-inverter set-up had a major advantage over a generator that I had not envisioned: I had filled the Prius tank the day before the storm, and, by the time power was restored several days later, I still had almost half a tank of gas left. And I had kept the inverter on without interruption, 24 hours a day, through the entire power outage. My neighbors with generators were going through a five-gallon can of gasoline in less than a day!

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Levo is the Specialized electric mountain bike. i suppose the Creo and Levo chargers are compatible?

This is an example of a DC-to-DC (12V) charger. I wonder if it charges at the same speed as the AC charger? I am looking for a 48VDC charger that can function as a "fast charger", like Tesla.

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Right now, i know intuitively this approach will work. The football is in the red zone. Moving the ball into the end zone from the 20-yard line still requires refining a large amount of detail to obtain the optimal solution.

One of the time-consuming activities is planning the rendezvous points for car and cyclist. Working through the bike details to optimize complementaryness is another important task. I have a strong sense for how well the Creo and Cutthroat will complement each other.

The Creo can be ridden downhill without consuming battery by decoupling the motor. The advantage of swapping bikes is to recharge the Creo battery.

To utilize this approach as a solo mission, simply camp at a midpoint, perhaps at the top of a pass. Head downhill in one direction on the first day. Repeat the same the next day. You can ride many legs over weekends. The Creo will probably work better than the Cutthroat in typical circumstances.

How to best integrate with the HV system requires tracking down details. The easiest approach is to use the 110VAC outlets in the Sienna. I hope to find a way to reduce charging time with 48VDC.
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According to Prius chief engineer Shoichi Kaneko, in an interview this past week at the LA Auto Show, most of Toyota’s current hybrid lineup are capable of easily trading off between the two battery types for one chief reason: flexibility. In being compatible with either one, the company can more smoothly react at a factory or vehicle level to supply shortages or price pinches—for raw materials like lithium or nickel, for instance.

DON’T MISS: 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid: two different battery packs

Toyota has sold more than 12 million hybrids worldwide and confirmed that they are a profitable part of the automaker’s business—certainly not a claim that can be made by all companies offering a hybrid. As of September, Toyota sold 34 different hybrid models.

Starting with the 2015 model year, the Prius has used lithium-ion batteries for some Prius models, while others use nickel metal hydride batteries. With the refreshed 2019 Prius lineup that will remain the case, Kaneko confirmed.

2018 Toyota Prius

Current NiMH batteries can handle sudden power demands just as quickly as lithium-ion batteries—which is partly why certain areas of consumer electronics have stuck with NiMH. But the strength of lithium-ion packs is their ability to perform long charge cycles. That’s why all plug-in hybrids, like the Prius Prime, have li-ion cells.

CHECK OUT: Nickel-metal hydride batteries for electric cars: Energy density can rise 10-fold?

On the other hand, Toyota’s all-wheel-drive hybrids, like the 2019 Toyota Prius AWD-e introduced last week at LA, will for the foreseeable future use NiMH—because it can withstand extreme cold far better, and perform better in the cold temps where you’d expect an AWD vehicle to be used.

Kaneko confirmed that today, a NiMH pack will weigh about 25 percent more (165 pounds, versus 132 pounds) and occupy about 20 percent more volume than a lithium-ion pack with a comparable output and usable capacity. It’s a small enough difference for Toyota to easily sub in either technology—whatever politics, trade tariffs, or simple supply and demand may dictate.

Some automakers have spoken about the need to increase dual sourcing — relying on two suppliers to make the same part — to avoid breaking the chain in the event of disasters such as the pandemic.

67% of the world’s cobalt is produced in Congo.

After leaving mines in Congo, cobalt is traded by Swiss and Chinese companies to manufacturers all over the world.

On 1 June, a new Ebola outbreak was declared in Mbandaka. In conjunction with the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing Kivu Ebola epidemic, and the world's largest measles outbreak, the situation has been described as a "perfect storm" by the Red Cross.[18]

In Q1 2020, automobile OEMs production decline, continued softness, and early lockdown measures in China due to coronavirus, among other factors, led to a fall in revenue and profits for many of the battery manufacturers. Further, Chinese battery manufacturers had to delay their production due to a shortage of labour, raw materials, and logistic issues.

The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed battery supply chains as most of the battery cells are manufactured in China, thereby highlighting the overwhelming dependence on China and the associated supply chain risks. This has spurred interest among various stakeholders for localization/regionalization of supply chains in the US and EU regions to mitigate the supply chain risks.

... Finally price decreases envisaged for Li-ion battery packs and potential increasing prices of NiMH batteries due to volatilities in rare earths, might induce manufacturers to substitute latter by former. Nevertheless, as suggested by several studies (Andersson and Råde, 2001; Catenacci et al., 2013; Moss et al., 2011), in order to avoid technology lock-in, variety in battery technologies should be supported due to the uncertainties in the material shortages. This implies that despite the expected paradigm shift to Li-ion technology, market share of NiMH is to remain substantial in the future as well. ...

Metal use is accounted for by four studies which address GI-HEVs, one of which also includes results for PHEVs (Wang et al. 1997). Concerns regarding the availability of key resources including
  • rare earth metals (
    • Nd,
    • La,
    • Ce,
    • Pr) in NiMH batteries,
  • cobalt in both NiMH and Li-ion batteries, and
lithium in Li-ion batteries are addressed in a handful of studies (Gaines and Nelson 2010;Rydh and Svard 2003;Andersson and Råde 2001;Will 1996). These studies are discussed in the SI. ...

The 17 rare-earth elements are
  1. cerium (Ce),
  2. dysprosium (Dy),
  3. erbium (Er), europium (Eu), gadolinium (Gd), holmium (Ho),
  4. lanthanum (La),
  5. lutetium (Lu),
  6. neodymium (Nd),
  7. praseodymium (Pr),
  8. promethium (Pm), samarium (Sm), scandium (Sc), terbium (Tb), thulium (Tm), ytterbium (Yb), and yttrium (Y). They are often found in minerals with thorium (Th), and less commonly uranium (U).
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Little wonder that some eBikes are sold out and some EVs are unavailable. The Global supply chain is threatened by covid19. The USA economy is dependent upon dozens of minerals that are 100% obtained from outside USA. Moreover, no facilities exist in the USA to process some of those minerals.

I expect the price of the eBike and hybrid minivan that i want to increase substantially due to disruptions caused by covid19.


Rare earth elements9 (REEs) are comprised of the lanthanides,10 scandium, and yttrium. The REEs are classified as “light” and “heavy” based on atomic number.11

Light REEs (LREEs): lanthanum through gadolinium (atomic numbers 57 through 64)

Heavy REEs (HREEs): terbium through lutetium (atomic numbers 65 through 71) and yttrium (atomic number 39), which has similar chemical and physical attributes with the other heavy REEs

Neodymium and praseodymium (LREEs) are key critical
materials in the manufacturing of neodymium-iron-boron
(NdFeB) magnets. NdFeB magnets have the highest
magnetic strength (energy product) among commercially
available magnets and enable high energy density and high
energy efficiency in energy technologies. Dysprosium and
terbium (HREEs) are key critical materials often added to the
NdFeB alloy to increase the operating temperature of the magnets. HREEs tend to be less abundant more

expensive than LREEs. The deployment of energy technologies such as wind turbines and electric vehicles (EVs) could lead to imbalances of supply and demand for these key materials

REEs are found combined in mineral deposits such as bastnaesite and monazite, the world’s two largest sources of REEs. Bastnaesite, a carbonate-fluoride mineral, typically contains cerium, lanthanum, neodymium, and praseodymium. Monazite, a phosphate mineral, typically contains cerium, lanthanum, neodymium and samarium.

The United States currently lacks the domestic capability to separate REE concentrates into REOs and process them into rare earth metals at a commercial scale. MP Materials has announced it will begin developing its own separation and processing capability at Mountain Pass by the end of 2020.20

Since 1995, the U.S. permanent magnet manufacturing sector has been reduced by half through industry consolidation, relocation, and closure. There are currently no large scale manufacturers of sintered NdFeB magnets in the United States. Gaps in the REEs supply chain pose a barrier to domestic manufacturing. Urban Mining Company, based in Texas, is now actively making bonded and sintered NdFeB magnets, but not at commercial scale. Electron Energy Company, which manufactures samarium cobalt magnets, actively stockpiles rare earth metals to prevent supply disruption – carrying between six to twelve months supply.

Technology Transfer

Scaling up and commercializing new technologies is a challenge. However, there are no test-bed or pilot-scale facilities to help validate, demonstrate and compare new technologies for a wide-range of feedstock inputs. Getting industry input is often a challenge for researchers at DOE national laboratories and in academia at early stages of discovery and development. Conversely, the hand-off of new technologies is difficult without sustained engagement between industry, academia and national laboratories to address scientific and technical

Obtaining intellectual property rights for manufacturing is another barrier. Historically, NdFeB magnets were independently invented in Japan (Sumitomo Special Metals Corporation) and the United States (General Motors Corporation). Japanese inventors won the rights to sintered (fully dense) NdFeB magnets and American inventors won the rights to bonded and hot pressed (in which magnet particles are dispersed in a binder) NdFeB magnets. Sumitomo Special Metals Corporation merged with Hitachi Metals, Ltd and the division at General Motors became Magnequench, which was bought by Chinese investors and relocated to China. Major manufacturers of sintered NdFeB magnets worldwide, including China and Germany, currently license the right to manufacture and sell from Hitachi.28 Three Chinese companies filed inter partes reviews of Hiatchi’s U.S. Patent No. 6,461,565 in 2017, claiming the processes were unpatentable. The final decision in 2018 determined that these claims did not show “by a preponderance of the evidence” that the Patent was unpatentable.29


The market is volatile and uncertain, and there is a lack of transparency in the rare earths supply chain. Concerns about market manipulation exist internationally, as iterated by the participants from Australia, Canada, and Japan. When rare earth oxide prices are too low, new mining projects are not economical upstream. When rare earth metal prices are high, magnet manufacturers can be constrained. The REO market is about $3-5 billion, but translates into an order of magnitude larger in value-added market.

Another challenge is to connect those markets in a way that allows for new capabilities to be developed upstream. Low material price is a large impediment to developing both a domestic and international supply chain that is not dependent on China. For example, Molycorp Inc., the previous operator of the Mountain Pass mine, invested $1.6 billion in a separation and processing facility30 in the $3-5 billion REO market,31 and ultimately filed for bankruptcy in 2015. This example illustrates the difficulties of developing economically competitive processes. Additionally, Chinese policymakers imposed a 25 percent tariff on imported REE concentrates (effective June 1, 2019), more than doubling the previous duty.

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At Toyota Motor North America, "We have good days and not-so-good days," said Randy Pflughaupt, group vice president of supply chain management. While each of Toyota's plants is unique, "in certain instances, our plants or our supplier partners may have challenges due to attendance," Pflughaupt explained. "If team members were potentially exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, they're required to self- quarantine for 14 days. Any attendance challenges could impact our production."

At the same point in 2019, Toyota and its distributors and dealers had 458,123 vehicles in inventory, which at the time was a still-tight 55-day supply of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. At the beginning of this month, it had just 266,131 unsold vehicles available, a 42 percent drop.

A spokesman for Toyota Motor North America confirmed that all of its production plants are working overtime right now.

Inventory struggles are in no way only caused by slowed production, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader.

While inventory levels in August are usually tighter because of model-year changeovers, the COVID-19- related production shutdowns have delayed the rollout of new model-year vehicles.

According to Cox, only 0.5 percent of current inventory are 2021 models, compared with 9 percent of inventory for 2020 models at the same point last year.


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Toyota was already selling its six-cylinder, 1974 Toyota Crown vehicle equipped with the automatic on/off switch[7][8] and claiming a 10-percent gas saving in traffic. More recently, Toyota has been selling cars with start-stop system on their internal combustion engine vehicles since 2009, and since 1997 in their Prius hybrid line.[39] Both Toyota and Mazdaintroduced stop-start technology, available also outside of Japan, in some of their 2009 model year vehicles.

In automobiles, a start-stop system or stop-start system automatically shuts down and restarts the internal combustion engine to reduce the amount of time the engine spends idling, thereby reducing fuel consumption and emissions. This is most advantageous for vehicles which spend significant amounts of time waiting at traffic lights or frequently come to a stop in traffic jams. Start-stop technology may become more common with more stringent government fuel economy and emissions regulations.[1] This feature is present in hybrid electric vehicles, but has also appeared in vehicles which lack a hybrid electric powertrain. For non-electric vehicles fuel economy gains from this technology are typically in the range of 3-10 percent, potentially as high as 12 percent.[2] In the United States, idling wastes approximately 3.9 billion gallons of gasoline per year.[3]

On a manual transmission vehicle, stop-start is activated as follows: Stop car and press clutch - move gear lever to neutral - release clutch - then the engine stops. The engine will not stop if the car is moving, even if the aforementioned steps are followed (this is not true for all cars). The engine restarts when the clutch is pressed prior to selecting a gear to move the car. The engine may also restart if there is a demand for power from, for example, the air conditioning system.

Since automobile accessories like compressors and water pumps have typically been designed to run on a serpentine belton the engine, those systems must be redesigned to function properly when the engine is turned off. Typically, an electric motor is used to power these devices instead.

The system needs to be implemented in conjunction with modifications and reinforcements on many of the car's components in order to reinforce the engine and electrical system durability and long-term wear resistance, due to the increased loads that the added stopping and starting cycles impose. To accomplish similar levels of durability, comfortand user experience to that of older cars without the system, the car's manufacturer can include one or more of the following enhancements in the car's industrial design:

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There are other technologies[2] that can reduce the use of fuel to heat or cool the cab when the vehicle is traditionally idling overnight. These can be battery or fuel powered but in either case, use less fuel, do no harm to the vehicle's engine, and reduce or eliminate emissions.[3] Other vehicles, including police, military, service trucks, news vans, fire trucks, ambulances, and hydraulic bucket trucks can be equipped with mobile power idle reduction systems, similar to a rechargeable battery. The systems are usually installed in the trunk and can provide up to 10 hours of additional power for equipment operation without engine engagement.

Idle management technologies have been developed as an upfitting solution to answer idling concerns. Similar to a start-stop system, idle management technologies can control the vehicle while in Park are Neutral, which allows for extensive control when the vehicle is in its primary state of issue—at idle. Some idle management technologies are so comprehensive, they are able to manage the engine's on/off ignition while retaining control of auxiliary functions, such as vehicle climate, anti-theft, operator security, and more, even when the engine is powered off. A great example of the most robust and complex idle management system is the GRIP Idle Management System.

The United States Department of Transportation estimates there are approximately 5,000 truck stops on the U.S. highway system that provide overnight parking, restrooms, showers, stores, restaurants and fueling stations.[24] The United States Department of Energy maintains a website that lists current TSE sites throughout the United States. As of October 2013, the website records 115 TSE stations throughout the country.[25]

Truck stop electrification allows a trucker to “plug-in” to power their on and off-board electrical needs. There are two types of truck stop electrification, on-board and off-board systems. On board TSE solutions allow trucker's the ability to recharge their batteries at truck stops via standard 120 Volt electrical outlets. Truckers can then utilize the truck's batteries to power appliances and provide heating and cooling to the truck cab. Typically, on-board TSE solutions require some vehicle modification. Off-board TSE solutions do not typically require any vehicle modifications, as they provide heating and air conditioning services via an overhead unit and hose that connects to the truck's window. In addition to heating and cooling, these connections can also offer standard electrical outlets, internet access, movies and satellite programming.[26] Normally, private companies provide and regulate either system and can charge an hourly rate for services, typically around $1.00-$2.00 an hour.[27] Both of these options can generate revenue for truck stop operators, and decrease operating expenses for truckers relative to the cost of diesel fuel. The cost of electricity to provide overnight power to trucks can save up to $3,240 of fuel that would normally be consumed by idling per parking space. Truck stop electrification can allow truck drivers to abide local idling regulations and reduce noise to neighboring establishments.[4]

Auxiliary power unitsEdit
Auxiliary power units (APUs) are commonly used on semi-trucks to provide electric power to the cabin at times when the cabin or cargo need to be heated or cooled while the vehicle is not in motion for an extended period of time. This period of time is usually overnight, when the truck driver has parked at a truck stop for some rest. Instead of having to keep the engine idling all night just to maintain the temperature in the cabin, the APU can turn on and provide power. Most commonly, the APU will have its own cooling system, heating system, generator, and air conditioning compressor. Sometimes the APU will be integrated into those components of the semi itself. APUs are also commonly used in police cruisers as an alternative to idling. Since a significant amount of time is spent in the cruiser while stationary, idling becomes a major source of cost to police fleets, though, most police fleets have idling policies. The drawback of APUs on police cruisers is that they are normally kept in the trunk where they take up valuable space.

The US Department of Energy is putting forth a huge effort through the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program to increase public awareness about decreasing petroleum use; idle-reduction being one of the methods. The Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center is a reliable resource for information regarding idle-reduction methods such as fuel-operated heaters, auxiliary power units and truck stop electrification.[4]

The trucking industry has analyzed the impact of idling on engines, both in terms of maintenance and engine wear costs. Long-duration idling causes
  • more oil and oil filter deterioration and
  • increases the need for more oil and filter changes.
  • Similarly, the longer the idling time, the sooner the engine itself will need to be rebuilt. The trucking industry estimates that long duration idling costs the truck owner $1.13 per day, based on the need for more frequent oil changes and sooner overhaul costs.
  • Services such as
    • , IdleAire and
    • Shorepower[8]
    • provide power at truck stops to resting truckers who would otherwise need to continue idling during mandatory breaks. Because the United States Department of Transportation mandates that truckers rest for 10 hours after driving for 11 hours, truckers might park at truck stops for several hours. Often they idle their engines during this rest time to provide their sleeper compartments with air conditioning or heating or to run electrical appliances such as refrigerators or televisions.

Various states and localities have passed laws pertaining to idling. Some of the laws are more strict and stringent than others. Thirty-one states currently have some sort of existing regulations pertaining to anti-idling. Of these states, California has the most codes and regulations. The California Air Resources Board has enacted numerous laws that regulate idling in the state. For example, in Virginia, the excessive idling threshold is ten minutes, though, in many west coast states such as Hawaii and California, where there is a larger presence of greener policies in relation to fuel consumption, the thresholds are drastically smaller and may even have no idling tolerance at all. According to Hawaii Administrative Rules §11-60.1-34, no idling is permitted “while the motor vehicle is stationary at a loading zone, parking or servicing area, route terminal, or other off street areas” [11] with a couple of exceptions. “Each year, long-duration idling of truck and locomotive engines consumes over 1 billion US gallons (3,800,000 m3) of diesel fuel and emits 11 million tons of carbon dioxide, 200,000 tons of oxides of nitrogen, and 5,000 tons of particulate matter into the air.” [12]
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Shore power, as it relates to the trucking industry, is commonly referred to as "Truck Stop Electrification" (TSE). The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that trucks plugging in versus idling on diesel fuel could save as much as $3240 annually.[2] There are currently 138 truck stops[3] in the USA that offer on-board systems (also called Shore power) or off-board systems (also called single system electrification) for an hourly fee. Auxiliary power units offer another alternative to both idling and shore power for trucks.


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IdleAir, a division of Convoy Solutions LLC, is a company that provides in-cab services to truckers via centralized systems at truck stops around the United States. IdleAir's service, the patented[3]Advanced Travel Center electrification (ATE), was more complex and more expensive than traditional truck stop electrification (TSE) systems which are aimed at idle reduction reducing the amount of fuel consumed by trucks while they idle during rests.[4]

The company, formerly named IdleAire, was launched in June 2000 and filed for bankruptcy protection on May 12, 2008.[5] In 2007, the widow of a trucker filed an $18 million lawsuit against IdleAire at Knoxville Court. Her husband, a trucker from Florida, had died of carbon monoxide poisoning while using the IdleAire system. According to the lawsuit the IdleAire device was marketed as capable of removing carbon monoxide, yet she alleged it had sucked up the exhaust gases of the truck.[6] IdleAire had 131 locations in 34 states.[7] A May 16, 2008 press release on their website stated that they expected to remain open,[8] however, IdleAire officially closed on January 29, 2010.[9] In 2008 some locations had been demolished.[10]