Siemens are the driving force behind a new private initiative to launch electric trucks in an experimental test recently carried out on a Swedish motorway, as reported by manufacturing.net.
Electric trucks powered by overhead lines can now travel on a 2 km section of the motorway north of Stockholm, on a stretch of road which Siemens have baptised the eHighway.
The project is a collaboration between two leading companies; the German giant Siemens, who have modified two diesel/electric hybrid trucks manufactured by Scania. The two customised trucks use a pantograph mechanism to link up with overhead wires, just like on an electric train or tram.
Current can also be recovered during braking operations, and both trucks are capable of transfering power to each other if they are linked up together.
The trucks can run at speeds up to 90 km/h using electric current and then, thanks to their hybrid engine, they will switch to run on diesel when they reach the end of the electrical section of the motorway.
This project has been proposed as part of the Swedish national initiative to halve the consumption of fossil fuels by 2030. To this end, Siemen claim that their eHighway with the diesel/electric hybrid trucks will help cut emissions in half compared to a conventional combustion engine.
A similar project is expected to open in California in partnership with Volvo in 2017. This is not the only such project led by Siemens either, since an agreement was signed between the group and the German aeronautical giant Airbus to work on hybrid systems for aircraft.
This initiative is to be particularly welcome as road freight is expected to double by 2050, so it is high time to find solutions to reduce emissions.