Mobile Dental Systems Van Structural Considerations
o. What is shore power and do we need it?

Shore power gets its name from boats that hook up to a power source when they park at a dock. Likewise, mobile vehicles can either operate electrical systems off their own source of power (generator) or they can be plugged into a land line 80 amp outlet. A properly engineered self-propelled vehicle should not have to rely on shore power. All on-board systems should function properly and consistently without shore power. If the vehicle is consistently at the same location to give service, however, an arrangement for the site provider to give shore power would be beneficial to the program and increase the life of the generator. Running the generator per se is not cost prohibitive--1 to 2 gallons of fuel per hour is an estimate for most generators. The cost to replace a generator can be $10,000 to $15,000, however.

Most facilities are not equipped with shore power and need an electrician to connect them. A schematic for shore power is included. The cost for establishing a site hookup may be $400-$2,500.
The less hours using the generator, the longer time frame you have without major capital outlay; 10,000 to 15,000 hours is the lifespan of most water-cooled diesel generators. Gas generators may need replacement in half that time frame. The advantage is that shore power is less costly than a gas generator. Usually the cost of the electricity is born by the host site (e.g., school). Another benefit of shore power at a site is the absence of the noise from the generator. Shore power does not present any safety concerns as the lines are grounded and are not affected by wet conditions.