A new “eHighway," which will allow specially equipped hybrid trucks to access electric power via an overhead trolley-type system, will be built on a 10-kilometer stretch of autobahn in Germany.
Siemens has been commissioned by the German state of Hesse to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport. The system will be installed on the A5 federal autobahn near the the Frankfurt Airport.
With this field trial, the eHighway will be tested on a public highway in Germany for the first time. Siemens will be responsible for the planning, construction and, as an option, maintenance of the system. The system is being built as part of the joint project "Electrified, innovative heavy freight transport on autobahns" (ELISA) of Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety.
"Construction of the system will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating overhead contact systems with a public highway,” said Gerd Riegelhuth, Head of Transport of Hessen Mobil. “The system will be used for real transport networks, and prove the practicality of climate-neutral freight transport in the urban region of Frankfurt."
Siemens says its eHighway is twice as efficient compared to internal combustion engines. That not only means cutting energy consumption in half, but also significantly reducing local air pollution.
The core element of the system is an intelligent pantograph on the trucks combined with a hybrid drive system. Trucks equipped with the system operate locally emission-free with electricity from the overhead line and automatically switch to a hybrid engine on roads without overhead lines.
Siemens built its first eHighway demonstration project in Sweden.