A hundred years ago, most major cities relied on trains and electric trolleys to move most of their citizenry around. These days cars and trucks rule the roads of America, although an old idea might soon find a modern application. I am talking about overhead trolley power lines electrifying hybrid trucks, allowing for long journeys on little fuel while reducing noise and emissions.
The system, called eHighway, is being developed by Siemens, and as the video below shows, trucks can hook up and detach from this trolley-like power system on the go. This system would, in theory, give trucks an unlimited driving distance, while at the same time reducing road noise, fuel consumption, and emissions. The hybrid trucks could leave and return to the system at any time, traveling the rest of the distance on either battery, or backup engine power.
Being that trolley lines have existed for a century or more in this country (though today are limited to places like San Francisco), nobody could claim this is some wacky unproven technology, like wireless in-road charging. And since the system itself is relatively simple, installing overhead powerlines on certain highways could be comparatively affordable.
That is assuming that truck makers get on board with this idea. And I can’t see why they wouldn’t. High diesel prices are eating into the profits of many shipping companies, and even the government is finally clamping down on big truck emissions. This overhead charging apparatus couldn’t have come at a better time.