Overhead wires would power trucks like trains
Could create electric trucking without massive battery requirements
Siemens Mobility and Continental have announced a new plan to work together to install overhead power lines on highways to allow for the use of electric trucks. One of the first new installations for the system will be a test project in co-operation with the UK government to install 20 km of the wires along a motorway in Lincolnshire.
Siemens calls the technology eHighway and has been testing versions of the system in the US and Europe since 2015. The idea is to power electric trucks from overhead wires like a train or a streetcar, allowing for smaller battery packs (or potentially no battery packs) but the advantages of zero-emissions shipping.
The 20 km test route on the M180 could be installed by 2024 if the designs are accepted and the work receives funding. The project is being led by highways company Costain using Siemens tech and will use Scania trucks.
A transport truck spends most of its time on the highway, Siemens says, with the off-highway trip normally well under 50 km. A battery for a trip lasting 1,000s of km would be massive, while one that can handle 100 km can be much smaller. The small-battery truck would also not need to plug in to charge, it could charge from the overheads.
Siemens and Continental plan more large pilot systems by 2023. The German Federal Ministry of Transport recommends that 4,000 km of autobahn be equipped with the wires, saying that “roughly two-thirds of the fuel consumption in long-distance truck transport occurs on the most heavily travelled 4,000 kilometres of the 13,000-kilometer autobahn network.”