UK government backs scheme for motorway cables to power lorries

Posted: July 28, 2021 by oldbrew in Batteries, Emissions, Energy, net zero, Travel, weather
Tags: , ,

e-truck

E-truck test route in Germany [image credit: transport-online.de]

Another one from the Department of Bad Ideas? Before they rush into anything, they might want to note the assessment of a writer for Mass Transit magazine 10 years ago, on the subject of overhead (catenary) lines. Here’s the opening paragraph in full: ‘They are expensive. They are dangerous. They are unsightly.’ Much more here, but let’s quote a few other comments:
‘Overhead lines require a lot of maintenance given the direct contact of the pantographs and their constant exposure to weather’
‘Winter storms play havoc with overhead wire systems’
‘Loose wires in the summer and wire breaks in the winter as a result of lines contracting and expanding with the temperature also create maintenance headaches’
‘A catenary line is a live wire suspended in the air. Weather issues therefore become serious safety concerns.’

Did somebody mention climate change as a reason for the road experiment?
– – –
The government will fund the design of a scheme to install overhead electric cables to power electric lorries on a motorway near Scunthorpe, as part of a series of studies on how to decarbonise road freight, reports The Guardian.

The electric road system – or e-highway – study, backed with £2m of funding, will draw up plans to install overhead cables on a 20km (12.4 miles) stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, in Lincolnshire.

If the designs are accepted and building work is funded the trucks could be on the road by 2024.

Road freight is one of the hardest parts of the economy to decarbonise, because no technology exists yet on a large scale that is capable of powering long-haul lorries with zero direct exhaust emissions.

New diesel and petrol lorries will be banned in Britain by 2040 as part of plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. That has given lorry companies little time to develop and commercialise technology that will be crucial to the functioning of the economy.

While cars can rely on lithium ion batteries, the weight of a battery required to power a fully laden truck over long distances has prompted trucking companies to look for alternatives.

The e-highway study is one of several options that will be funded, along with a study of hydrogen fuel cell trucks and battery electric lorries, the Department for Transport said on Tuesday.

On the e-highway, lorries fitted with rigs called pantographs – similar to those used by trains and trams – would be able to tap into the electricity supply to power electric motors.

Lorries would also have a smaller battery to power them over the first and last legs of the journey off the motorway.

Full report here.

Comments
  1. watersider says:

    But but wot about the potholes? Are they going to be repaired first?

  2. tallbloke says:

    BZZZZZT *BANG*

  3. saighdear says:

    Pot holes? Capacitors, who wrote the language? Overhead wires? don’t you guys have them already down there? whilst we will still be using Diesels, darn sarth uses Electric trains and the dafties in Eddingborough re-installed Trams. so nothing new, just Holes in Pots, butter’s up and so is fuel – 30% since the turn of the year and not a cheap! Go Dodgem – you can already try it for around a Fiver ….( at the Fairgrounds – if you can find one )

  4. Curious George says:

    The government is considering the idea of driving on the right-hand side of the road. It will be tested on 500 London taxicabs.

  5. oldbrew says:

    Guardian: ‘However, the consortium’s efforts to secure government backing will probably face stiff opposition, not least from other projects. The industry is split between advocates for lithium ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, as well as e-highways.’

    Batteries are too heavy for road haulage, hydrogen infrastructure doesn’t exist, catenaries: see intro above. Going nowhere fast.

  6. Graeme No.3 says:

    Just when you think nothing more stupid can be inflicted on the UK, along comes another ‘plan’ dreamt up by bureaucrats as an excuse to spend more money.
    Anybody with any experience in the real world would see problems with looping wires swinging in the wind and when one pantograph loses connection the whole line of trucks has to stop.

    If they must try pantographs why not on urban buses? A small (lighter) battery on board for a 5 mile range (at most) and rigid power contacts at each bus stop so busses recharge as passengers get on & off. Busses could get around obstructions, breakdowns etc. and you would reduce diesel fumes in the city and CO2 emissions (if you think they matter). And if the electricity supply fails, as your politicians are hell-bent on it happening, then you have some hanging space available.

  7. Gamecock says:

    ‘That has given lorry companies little time to develop and commercialise technology that will be crucial to the functioning of the economy.’

    So you won’t have an economy.

    ‘The industry is split between advocates for lithium ion batteries and hydrogen fuel cells, as well as e-highways.’

    Nah. The industry hopes all this stupid s#|+ will go away.

  8. Gamecock says:

    ‘If the designs are accepted and building work is funded the trucks could be on the road by 2024.’

    Cirrusly? A trucking company is going to put capital into their trucks so they can run electric for 12 miles?

  9. JB says:

    Why not spend £2K instead of £2m on the maintenance history of electric trolleys and trains in Norway and Sweden? No sense in reinventing headaches.

  10. Chaswarnertoo says:

    Mr Nut Nut PM still cannot do the math. Why would we want coal powered trucks?

  11. Hasbeen says:

    Now there is a business opportunity. Buy a dozen diesel trucks in 2039, don’t use them until 2045, & they will sell for at least 500% profit to trucking companies desperate for real trucks.

  12. stpaulchuck says:

    someone in law enforcement needs to find out which drug or combination causes people to come up with insanity like this and then shoot the dealers. For the sake of the country.

  13. oldbrew says:

    ‘no technology exists yet on a large scale that is capable of powering long-haul lorries with zero direct exhaust emissions’

    But let’s just plough on anyway, something might turn up 🙄

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