Travel Centers of America creates alternative energy unit

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TravelCenters of America Inc., operator and franchisor of the TA, Petro Stopping Centers and TA Express travel center network, today announced the formation of eTA, a new business unit. eTA will seek to deliver sustainable and alternative energy to the marketplace and focus on partnering with the public sector, private companies and customers.

eTA builds on TA’s previously announced plans to monetize a broad range of potential offerings in alternative energy, extending TA’s commitment to providing the widest range of non-fuel offerings across its c-store, restaurant and truck service businesses. With the launch of eTA, TA will be well-positioned to be in the forefront of important trends, including electrification and decarbonization, and take a leading role in the proliferation of alternative energy to drive profitable long-term growth, according to a statement from the company.

“As everyday travelers embrace the benefits of energy alternatives and the trucking industry continues its transition toward cleaner and more efficient fuels, TA is uniquely positioned to capitalize on this shift and the significant opportunities it creates,” said Jon Pertchik, CEO of TA. “Now is the optimal time to sharpen our focus on sustainability, particularly in light of the Biden Administration’s infrastructure plan. This is a pivotal moment in our company’s 50-year history, and we believe that the actions we are taking today will support the next 50 years of profitable growth at TA.”

TA also announced that it has appointed alternative energy expert John D. Thomas, as senior vice president, Sustainability & Alternative Energy. In this newly created position, Thomas will lead the efforts of eTA, leveraging his expertise and industry knowledge to advance the company’s strategy relating to alternative fuel opportunities.

“I am excited to join TA at this critical inflection point for the industry," said Thomas. "TA’s sites are strategically located where highway travelers are most likely to rest and refuel, and TA has the scale and infrastructure proximity to incorporate lower carbon fuel and alternative energy resources into its broad range of fuel offerings. These assets, combined with the company’s cutting-edge operating platform and digital systems, ideally position TA to capitalize on policy and market trends to offer low-priced, clean transportation energy and serve as the partner of choice for tomorrow’s traveler.”

TA has already established important partnerships and launched alternative energy projects, providing a strong foundation for the success of eTA. Recent accomplishments include:

  • Securing a $4 million grant with the California Energy Commission to participate in an innovative industry test project for medium- and heavy-duty vehicle (MDHD) electrification. TA and its key partners will design, develop and deploy an integrated distributed energy resource to power energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) charging solutions.
  • Offering hydrogen fueling in California in collaboration with Nikola Corporation for heavy-duty trucks at two existing sites, with consideration to possibly develop a nationwide network of hydrogen fueling stations.
  • Expanding diesel exhaust fluid availability. TA has made a substantial capital investment into DEF availability and plans to add DEF to fueling lanes at an additional 40 sites (173 fueling lanes). The investment is expected to enable TA to make DEF available at every diesel fueling lane across its network by early 2022.
  • Expanding the company’s investment in biodiesel blending, with plans to install additional biodiesel blending infrastructure across the network and expand renewable diesel offerings in California and Oregon.
  • Rolling out plans to install FreeWire EV charging stations for motorists in California.