Siemens claims to power unlimited-range electric trucks with overhead wires

23 Jun 2016


German engineering company Siemens, in a presentation at an electric vehicle conference in Montreal this month, argued it could power unlimited-distance electric trucks with intermittent overhead wires that would provide enough energy for fast-moving, long-haul highway journeys.

With trucks fitted with on-board batteries, the company estimated all of Germany's roads could be be outfitted for long-distance electric hauling with just 4,000 km of wire.

Recharging facilities would be on highways, but the trucks would operate on battery power while on rural and urban streets. The cost of the system would work out to a fraction of the price of alternatives like hydrogen fuel cells, and deliver as much as €200 billion ($227 billion) in net savings over 30 years as against other approaches, according to IDTechEx, which attended the presentation.

The technology was ready with new advances in catenary (overhead) systems allowing hybrid vehicles to switch seamlessly between overhead charging and battery power at high-speeds.

The trucks are currently diesel hybrids, with extensive overhead wires and efficient battery vehicles would be able to do away entirely with internal combustions engines.

Siemens, joined by Volvo, Scania, and several national and local governments, is already starting field trials. The first trucks on the public roads hit the test track on 22 June on the E15 test highway north of Stockholm.

Meanwhile, Sweden inaugurated a test stretch of an electric road, making it one of the first countries in the world to conduct tests with electric power for heavy transports on public roads.

The test was conducted on parts of road E16, and involves a current collector on the roof of the truck cab feeding the current down to a hybrid electric motor in the truck, according to a press release from the country's transport administration Trafikverket, Xinhua reported.

''Electric roads will bring us one step closer to fossil fuel-free transports, and has the potential to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions. This is one way of developing environmentally smart transports in the existing road network. It could be a good supplement to today's road and rail network,'' said Lena Erixon, director general of Trafikverket, IANS reported.

''Electric roads are one more piece of the puzzle in the transport system of the future, especially for making the heavy transport section fossil fuel-free over the long term. This project also shows the importance of all the actors in the field cooperating,'' said Erik Brandsma, director general of the Swedish Energy Agency.

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