TravelCenters of America Inc. (Nasdaq: TA), a nationwide 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 to facilitate industry transformation.
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 ecosystem. 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.
"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. TA's nationwide footprint, range of truck service options, and breadth of driver amenities are perfectly situated to minimize consumers' 'range anxiety' concerns and make drivers across the nation more comfortable purchasing vehicles powered by electricity and other alternative fuels. 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, Mr. Thomas will lead the transformative efforts of eTA, leveraging his expertise and industry knowledge to advance the company's strategy relating to alternative fuel opportunities, and ensure TA's business is at the forefront of the transition to carbon fuel alternatives.
Mr. Thomas commented, "I am excited to join TA at this critical inflection point for the industry. 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."
Thomas continued, "We are encouraged by the Biden Administration's demonstrated commitment to investing in infrastructure to create a more sustainable world and support public policy that advances the deployment of sustainable sources of energy. We look forward to evaluating the business case for investing in cleaner transportation fuels and to working with policymakers to ensure well-intentioned ideas are implemented in a manner that can generate the desired results for all stakeholders. TA is embracing changes that will redefine America's transportation infrastructure."
TA has already established important partnerships and launched significant projects in the alternative energy space, 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.
- Significantly expanding diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) 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 entire 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 in Q2 2021.
In connection with this announcement, TA unveiled an eTA logo, which reflects the company's commitment to sustainability and underscores that TA has arrived in the alternative energy space. The logo will represent sustainability initiatives and will appear on appropriate assets, including EV charging stations.
About John D. Thomas
John D. Thomas has over 30 years of experience in product engineering, operations and executive leadership, having most recently served as Vice President, Operations at Toyoda Gosei, a leading global manufacturer of automotive components, safety systems and LEDs. Prior to that, he founded and served as Lead Consultant for the Emerging Technologies Group within ET Consultants focused on global cleantech projects. Mr. Thomas also previously served as CEO of the electric vehicle startup, Helix Motors, Inc., and as a Board Advisor to the Global Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco. In addition, he founded and led ALTe Powertrain Technologies, Inc. as CEO, and served as VP of Operations for Detroit Chassis LLC, a Ford JV. From 2006 to 2009, Mr. Thomas served as Senior Program Director & General Manager at Tesla Motors, most notably leading the team that created and engineered the Tesla Model S automobile and the initial factory to build the vehicle. In 2012, he was included on the esteemed Ernst & Young EV100 list, which comprises individuals who are increasing demand, influencing policy, and driving mass roll-out, thereby helping to make electric vehicles more rapidly affordable for everyone. Mr. Thomas began his career in Detroit, holding roles at Collins & Aikman, GKN Automotive, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors. He earned an MBA from Eastern Michigan University, and two Bachelor's Degrees from Lawrence Technological University in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration.
About TravelCenters of America
TravelCenters of America Inc. (Nasdaq: TA) is the nation's largest publicly traded full-service travel center network. Founded in 1972 and headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, its nearly 20,000 employees serve customers in over 270 locations in 44 states and Canada, principally under the TA®, Petro Stopping Centers® and TA Express® brands. Offerings include diesel and gasoline fuel, truck maintenance and repair, convenience stores, full-service and quick-service restaurants, car and truck parking and other services and amenities dedicated to providing great experiences for professional drivers and the general motoring public. TravelCenters of America operates nearly 650 full-service and quick-service restaurants and 9 proprietary brands, including Iron Skillet® and Country Pride®. For more information, visit www.ta-petro.com.
This press release contains statements that constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and other securities laws. For example, this press release includes various statements about plans for the delivery and monetization of sustainable and alternative energy, potential partnership opportunities, the anticipated benefits of TA's investment in sustainable and alternative, TA's future financial performance, public policy and market trends related to alternative energy, and TA's plan to expand the availability of DEF and EV charging stations. Also, whenever TA uses words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "estimate," "will," "may" and negatives or derivatives of these or similar expressions, TA is making forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon TA's present intent, beliefs or expectations, but forward-looking statements are not guaranteed to occur and may not occur or may not have the effects TA expects. Actual results may differ materially from those contained in or implied by TA's forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, including those set forth in TA's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, some of which are beyond TA's control.
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