Electric truck powerline will connect transport links outside of Frankfurt
Siemens has been commissioned by the German state of Hesse to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport on a 10km stretch of autobahn. This would be the third such “eHighway” the engineering conglomerate has worked on, following similar demonstrator projects in Sweden and California.
The first-of-its-kind project in Germany will see the line will supply electricity powering the electric drive of a hybrid truck. The core element of the system is an intelligent pantograph on the trucks combined with a hybrid drive system. Trucks using the system use only the electricity from the overhead line and automatically switch back to the hybrid engine once they leave the powered stretch of road.
According to Siemens, the eHighway is twice as efficient as using an ICE.
The system will be installed on the A5 federal autobahn between the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Süd interchange at the Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt interchange. The system is being built as part of the joint “Electrified, innovative heavy freight transport on autobahns” (ELISA) project set out by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).
“With the eHighway, we’ve created an economically viable solution for climate-neutral freight transport by road. Our technology is an already existing and feasible alternative to trucks operating with internal combustion engines,” says Roland Edel, Chief Technology Officer of the Mobility Division.
According to a Gas2 report from 2016, Siemens is bullish on the potential of this technology, stating that the company could power all trucks in Germany with such a system using around 4,000km of wire.
It may be some time before that becomes a reality, but the engineering firm and the German government are sure to be watching the results of this trial closely.