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Germany Experiments With eHighway

published: 2019-05-21 17:19

Electrification will extend from railway to highway for carbon abatement.

Germany inaugurated the other day the nation's first eHighway, installing an overhead electric-cable system along existing A5 freeway, which will enable hybrid trucks to travel quietly along a dedicated lane, at maximum speed of 90 kilometers/hour, without any CO2 emission.

eHighway is designed and developed by Siemens, in cooperation with Swedish truck maker Scania. When traveling along the dedicated lane, the hybrid car would stretch out a collector bow for connection with the 670 V direct-current electric cable above for an power-driven mode before withdrawing the collector bow and switching back to diesel-oil mode after departing the lane.

The project receives strong support from the German government, which not only installs the electrification system at cost of 14 million euros but also provides 70 million euros of subsidy to Scania and Volkswagen for building the dedicated hybrid trucks for eHighway. There are only five such hybrid trucks now.

With a length of only 10 kilometers, eHighway connects Frankfurt Airport and industrial parks Darmstadt and Weiterstadt and will be in operation until 2022, with its results serving as major reference for the German government in deciding whether to expand its application.

Siemens is upbeat on the project, saying that efficiency of the system doubles that of internal combustion engine at only half of the latter's energy consumption. Should the share of such trucks rise to 30% of total trucks in Germany, plus the usage of renewable-energy power, the nation would cut 6 million tons of CO2 equivalent emission a year, plus saving of 20,000 euros in fuel cost for a traveling distance of 100,000 kilometers for a 40-ton truck.

The experiment follows another similar project, also a joint venture between Siemens and Scania, launched in Sweden in 2016.

(Collaborative media: TechNews, first photo courtesy of Siemens)    

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