Warren Buffet Buys Pilot Truck Stops and Will Electrify Them

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway paid $8.2 billion to acquire Pilot Travel Centers in January. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway quietly acquired $1 billion in January and promises to boost its exposure to the fast-growing electric vehicle industry.

Renowned Investor’s Group bought 41.4% of Pilot Travel Centers on January 31 for approximately $8.2 billion. The transaction boosts Berkshire’s ownership of the business to 80% since it originally bought a 38.6% stake in 2017.

Pilot is the largest operator of travel centers in North America with more than 650 locations.

Truck-Stop Group grew its revenue from $20 billion in 2017 to $45 billion in 2021, and now generates more than $1 billion in annual pre-tax earnings.

Pilot last year partnered with General Motors to set up a national network of 2,000 EV charging stations by 2026. It also intends to work with Volvo to develop a similar network for battery-powered trucks.

Bloomberg magazine had an article in November, 2022 that electric truck stops will need as much power as a small town. “Think of electricity like water flowing through a hose. You could fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool with a garden hose if you had a few months, but filling it in a few hours would require a firehose. In the world of electric vehicles, an 18-wheeler is like a swimming pool—and the connections available at today’s highway stops are akin to garden hoses,” Randall wrote.

Electrifying a typical highway gas station will require as much electricity as a sports stadium.

Sysco Corp. plans to convert a third of its fleet to electric trucks.

Pilot and Kodiak Robotics have a strategic agreement to develop services for self-driving trucks at Pilot and Flying J travel centers.

The first such autonomous truckport is being built at a Pilot center near Atlanta, Ga. where the companies will evaluate what services make the most sense for self-driving trucks. Pilot vice president of strategy and business development John Tully imagined autonomous truckports wouldn’t look much different than the rest of the companies locations

14 thoughts on “Warren Buffet Buys Pilot Truck Stops and Will Electrify Them”

  1. maybe it’s just easy to estimate, if formation needed ~100k-5m years and resources consumption/exhaustion is finished within ~500 years, formation rate is 200-10k slower than consumption, live biomass on planet is guessed for been ~2k (Welte, 1970) smaller than fossilized organic matter (means resources, not reserves, on a historical top accumulation level, ~18./19. century?); for keeping up with ~current/modern times consumption levels on fossil fuels, it would be necessary to yearly convert(@efficiency?) 2000/500== ~4times all planets biomass content to stored fuels, what’s 1/300-1/500 on a historical all-time high level for fossil hydrocarbons a year or guessed ~135,000TWh,33GT.CO2(average~2010-2019, 1750 ~0.01GT, 1950 ~6GT, 2000 ~25GT), since industrialization ~1,500GT.CO2(~1750-20xx) it’s ~5,000,000TWh from fossil fuels (on a todays fuels mixtures, eff. increased from ~3000TWh/GT@1900 to ~4000TWH/GT@20xx) consumed, reserves (2020 data base) should last for theoretical another 12,000,000TWh (resources not considered, EROI “net cliff”, above ~70% capacity consumption, EROI <3-5), but CO2 emissions won't allow usage for keeping climate warming <1.5-2°C (1.5°C ~300-850GT, <2°C ~850-2300GT ), 1/2000 of all reserves would result to ~9000TWh for all live biomass energy content, what's wrong, because if taking into account all photosynthesis produced ~100-150GT dry organic matter each year (land/ocean 50:50 to 65:35), this would result to ~840k TWh. If this factor of 2k (from 1970's) is still backed in science, this would result into resources being ~1.5billion TWh formed fossil fuels (efficiency of formation, human side: exploration, extracting, conversion?, degraded/lost containment amounts through ages) within million years, one could expect a factor between explored(used)/expected planetary fossil reserves and overall resources ranging between a (maybe) 15-40. Anyway if photosynthesis related organic matter is formed to fossil fuels (expected eff. maybe <50%), fossil fuels rebuild on a rate of ~<200TWh/a. (reasonable?)

    • Equilibrium between fossil fuels reforming on a ~200TWh base and global consumption would be a year ~1820 (0.05GT CO2 emissions and 1 billion people on planet Earth).

  2. Why to this topic? Transformation needs knowledge about the (common&grown&established) needs and innovation?

    What I forgot towards above question:
    and it’s not about: “Do all ‘higher farther faster’ now by electricity” (?)

  3. I used to worry about how all the power would be supplied for our electrified economy, especially transportation. I no longer worry about such things.

    Why? Because I have watched the states of Texas and Florida grow an incredible rates. Especially Texas. It has been able to add massive amounts of electricity to the grid for both industrial uses and an enormous amount of new homes.

    This requires planning and foresight. There are many people planning for the future of electrical generation. Renewables will be significant only if solutions such as the MegaPack reach the volume production required. Just as Elon and Tesla anticipated, the only way to sell electric cars is to have high-speed charging stations in places people need, and also to be able to charge at home. It is the same for storage of renewable energy.

    Otherwise, we will fulfill the need with abundant Natural Gas fueling our power plants. Either way the electrification of our transportation system will be solved by people who want to make money.

    • Yep, only places that mismanage their power grids expansion (fyi, they’re always expanding!) won’t be able to deal with the electric boom, California I’m looking at you!

      • Lots of places beside California mismanage their power grids. (And, why would California’s be expanding? They’re losing population, remember?)

        Texas not so long ago had a terrible blackout, because they’d been mismanaging the grid, using a pseudo-market system that didn’t permit paying for reliability, (It mandated buying whatever energy was cheapest at any given moment, even if it meant power from a reliable baseload plant would be dumped.) and so didn’t BUY reliability. I suspect such purchasing systems are not restricted to Texas.

        Everywhere that has warped the rules to make ‘renewable’ energy look competitive, or started taking down working nuclear plants, is losing reliability. We’re in the middle of a destruction of reliable infrastructure that will go down in the history books.

        • I love your input, Brett. I agree with you.

          Texas is putting new mechanisms in place to deal with the grid problems. The freeze last month, with almost the same parameters, caused very little problems.

          In addition, more than 10,000,000 Texans experienced 70mph+ straight-line winds a few days ago. Although it knocked down quite a few powerlines and blew up many generators, the grid functioned well.

          Texas keeps adding wind power and solar power at incredible clips. Texas leads the U.S. in wind-powered electrical generation (by quite a large margin). Tesla has started its virtual powerplants that use powerwalls to balance the grid during periods of excess demand. Tesla megapacks are on the radar for Texas to store solar and wind energy to balance the grid during emergency events. ERCOT has already met with Elon to let him know they want as many as can be supplied.

          Your worries are well-founded about the Texas grid. But I think you are missing how Texas is addressing the problem.


  4. Awesome, About time Buffet does something useful with all that money.
    But as the article states, more chargers is half the battle. Are they going to put solar panels on the roofs & canopy’s? How are they getting all that power?

  5. Estimating the load of over the road truck stops is easy. Semi is 1 MWh. They park for 10 hours due to driver regulations. So, 100kW each.

    500 bay truck stop, 50MW.

    That 50MW is mostly used overnight. The same interconnection point can fast charge roughly 30-40 trucks at a time at an average 1-1.5MW during their 30 minutes mandatory mid day stop. They don’t need a full charge. Just enough to get to the overnight charger.

    50 MW is about the same size as a small city. In power terms. Or the same as a large natural gas processing and compression site. Or a small utility scale solar plant. Or 30 Walmarts. Or 1/10th of a coal plant. Or 40,000 toasters…

    • This (power requirements) is how ‘we’ live(d, from starting industrialization) on stored (fossil) natural resources and it is (was) cheap, because it was stored(&formed) over ~thousands-millions of years (ago).
      What’s the annual production (plankton/biological matter, anoxic/anerobic, pressure&temperature) rate for fossil fuels from natural processes restoring back into resources?
      One might think that’s a question of wide interest, so try finding numbers, me none suitable found on that item … guesses (we know, it can’t be above a sum from planets kept insolation and core’s heat output, neglecting disastrous events), suggestions, (WebGPT)? (Thx@all)

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