Sweden has set an ambitious goal to develop a fossil-fuel-free transportation system by 2030. As part of that goal, the Swedish Transportation Administration has provided funding to the County Council of Gävleborg to build a two-kilometer electrified transportation corridor for heavy trucks. The test results will be available in two years and are intended to demonstrate the system’s suitability for future commercial use. Siemens, the German technology company, will be in charge of the electric highway for the truck demonstration project.
“The eHighway is twice as efficient as internal combustion engines. This means that not only is energy consumption cut in half but also local air pollution is reduced,” says Roland Edel, Chief Technology Officer of Siemens Mobility. “The electric hybrid is the first step on the road to electrically powered vehicles that will come to play an increasingly important role in the development of sustainable freight transport.”
The core of the system is an intelligent pantograph combined with a hybrid drive system. A sensor system enables the pantograph to connect to and disconnect from the overhead wires at speeds of up to 55 mph. Trucks equipped with the system will draw power from the overhead wires as they drive, enabling them to travel efficiently and with zero local emissions. On roads without any overhead wire infrastructure, the vehicles in Sweden can make use of their diesel hybrid system. As an alternative, the system can run on compressed natural gas or battery power.
“The eHighway concept developed by Siemens combines well tested rail technology with the flexibility of road transport,” says Jan Nylander, project leader for the County Council of Gävleborg. “Combined with Scania’s hybrid technology, fuel consumption and emissions will be cut while the intelligent pantograph will insure the eHighway vehicles are just as flexible as conventional vehicles.”
The demonstration project will be conducted on the E16 highway, which connects the regions of Dalarna and Gävleborg — industrial regions dominated by steel, paper, and mining industries — with the port of Gävle. Two vehicles will be used in the demonstration phase. These are electric hybrid trucks manufactured by Scania and adapted, in collaboration with Siemens, to operate using the system of overhead wires.
In California, Siemens is working with Volvo and local truck retrofitters on a demonstration project for the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). This project is testing how different truck configurations interact with the eHighway infrastructure set up in the vicinity of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Source and photo credit: Siemens