Hybrid trucks to operate on ‘electric highway’ in Germany 

Posted: August 17, 2017 by oldbrew in innovation, Travel

Credit: siemens.com

Could be expensive, but similar systems have already been installed in Sweden and California. No overtaking?

The German state of Hesse is to build a 10km-long highway with overhead power lines that trucks can connect to at speed with a pantograph, reports Power Engineering International.

Siemens Mobility are to develop the line to supply electricity to hybrid trucks, which will then be able to operate twice as efficiently as they would when running on petrol or diesel.

The company said that a 40-tonne truck running for 100,000km on an eHighway would realise €20,000 in reduced fuel costs.

Roland Edel, chief technology officer with Siemens’ Mobility Division, said: “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.”

The system will be installed on the A5 federal autobahn between the Zeppelinheim interchange at Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstad interchange. Siemens says the key innovation is the “intelligent” pantograph, which allows the trucks to connect to the catenary system while travelling at 90km/h.

The eHighway is predicted to be twice as efficient compared to internal combustion engines with energy consumption cut in half and a significant reduction in local air pollution. 

Trucks equipped with the pantograph system can operate locally emission-free with electricity from the overhead line and automatically switch to a hybrid engine on roads without overhead lines.

Continued here.

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Siemens building ‘eHighway’ in Germany to charge electric trucks | caradvice

  1. A C Osborn says:

    Oh look post war Trolley Buses resurrected as Trucks.
    I remember them well.

  2. oldbrew says:

    ‘The company said that a 40-tonne truck running for 100,000km on an eHighway would realise €20,000 in reduced fuel costs.’

    But there’s the additional cost of the hybrid truck (plus maintenance) over a standard ICE truck.


  3. Rube Goldberg “solutions” are making a comeback. 10 km is nothing; wait until you see “tram lines” infesting the air for hundreds of kilometers and on (above) all the roads. This is poor, degenerate thinking, a giant step back into the 19th century. And what is the cost of the electricity used? Buses replaced trams (“streetcars” in the US, which were limited to the inner city even in their heyday) for a reason(s); what were those reasons?

  4. tallbloke says:

    Harry, correct. The reasons they were limited and eventually abandoned was line losses to remoter points and weather vulnerability leading to high maintenance costs along with traffic disruption.

    Small scale distributed power generation might overcome the first problem. The extent to which modern materials tech can overcome the second remains to be seen.

  5. JohnM says:

    Put all long distance goods on the train.

  6. oldbrew says:

    These trucks are only part-time trolleybus-style vehicles, self-powered otherwise – either via batteries or engine. Sounds expensive to have multiple systems on one vehicle though.

    Note the pantograph.

  7. tom0mason says:

    A Walsall trolleybus at the Black Country Living Museum

  8. BoyfromTottenham says:

    Coming next – straw-burning mechanical horses with battery backup! Sounds like a great idea for an innovation grant. I’m all for spending OPM.

  9. graphicconception says:

    “Small scale distributed power generation might overcome the first problem.”

    Tallbloke: I think you might have put your finger on the solution there. If the power sources were small enough they could be placed inside the vehicles and so each one could have its own power distributed to exactly where the vehicle was located.

    Do I need the /sarc tag?

  10. A C Osborn says:

    I actually travelled on a Trolley bus when I lived in Kent, it went from Bexleyheath to Welling & back again. Pretty noisy and jerky as I remember.

  11. J Martin says:

    The Germans are looking at using batteries to power trains, and I would have thought that battery powered buses and lorries might be a going concern, or hydrogen. Tesla should have built a white van first, along with a black cab or London taxi.

  12. tallbloke says:

    GC: Lol. Good one.

  13. RoswellJohn says:

    Well, not to put a damper on all the anti-trolley car enthusiasts, but in the US the trolley cars in many, but probably not all, cities were bought up by a General Motors subsidiary, which then ran them into the ground by not doing maintenance on the tracks, cars and power systems. With no alternatives people had to buy cars or walk! Lest you think this is untrue or urban legend look at this link in Wikipedia:
    And here’s the link to the Great American Streetcar Scandal:

    It’s also true though that with increased autos on the street congestion with trolleys was rampant.
    When I arrived in LA in late 1960 there were still streetcar tracks on a few streets. I think the last red cars stopped a year or two before I arrived. They did cover a huge area in Southern California though and were supplemented by local streetcar systems.
    Here’s a map of the red car system:

    You could hold GM up for its charitable work in helping other auto companies grow though : )

  14. RoswellJohn says:

    Tallbloke, that map link didn’t go in right. Can you fix? Lacks the .svg on the end.
    Thanks, RJ

    [Mod note] WordPress won’t display .svg properly, due to background transparency. You’ll have to screenshot it and make a .jpg to upload somewhere and link it. TB

    [Note 2] You can select one of the png versions from the same link. Comment amended to show map. Oldbrew

  15. Mjw says:

    How long do you give it before some idiot runs under an overpass with the pantograph up.

  16. ivan says:

    If this goes ahead I wonder how long before the travelling community realises there is a copper mine just over their heads – let the fun begin.

  17. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Demonstration? Now let’s see the economics…

  18. tallbloke says:

    Ivan, I suspect that consideration may be behind the recent decision not to go ahead with electrification works in Northern England…

  19. oldbrew says:

    JohnM says: ‘Put all long distance goods on the train’

    Limited capacity, limited number of lines.

  20. Transport Economist says:

    “Roland Edel, chief technology officer with Siemens Mobility Division, said: ‘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.’ ”

    The real truth is that it is not economically feasible when the capital costs of erecting and the operating costs of maintaining the catenary (not to mention the line losses in remote regions) are factored into the equation. Privately-owned — and thus privately-funded — railroads in the U.S. have studied this question to death over every decade since electrification first came into existence. It has never made economic sense. That’s why there are almost no privately-owned electric rail lines in the country. As stewards of shareholder wealth, they don’t enjoy the luxury of squandering limitless amounts of other people’s money without accountability.

    German industry ideologues can falsely assert that it is “economically viable” because the enormous bill for initial capital and on-going maintenance cost is ignored and transferred onto the backs of taxpayers. Anything is “economically viable” if large portions of the total life-cycle cost structure like capital outlays, maintenance expenses and spillover effects — think green energy “solutions” — are offloaded onto the backs of taxpayers and ratepayers.

  21. oldbrew says:

    Overhead line maintenance must require shutting at least part of the road.

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