Germany Inaugurates Its First Electrified Highway For Big Rig Trucks

by Harish Kumar | 09/05/2019
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Germany has kicked off its 'e-Highway' project in full swing across the country, enabling hybrid and electric trucks, for the very first time, to draw the power from overhead cables on public roads.

Germany's first electrified 5 km-long highway has been brought into reality in the south of Frankfurt last Tuesday, as a start to the zero-impact 'e-Highway' project in the country. The 5km test track has been opened for one of the busiest stretches between Frankfurt airport and the industrial park nearby in Hesse, Germany that enables the HVs and EVs, especially the hybrid and battery-powered trucks to charge the electricity while driving underneath the overhead lines.

germany highway electric trucks image

The first e-Highway has been coming into operation in Germany since last Tuesday.

Developed by Siemens AG, the German multinational tech giant, the electrified highway system uses electrified lines installed overhead to supply electricity to big rigs via a roof-mounted pantograph-type setup. The system has been specifically designed for the special hybrid and battery-powered trucks, with the German government having spent over 70 million euros in developing. As you may know, this setup is also similar to the one found on the local trains in India as well. Aside from that, there will be a slew of sensors to be mounted on these hybrid and electric trucks designed to be used on the special electrified highways. These sensors will be in charge of sensing overhead electric cables then relaying the commands to automatically lift the pantograph fitted on top of the trucks, which would then enable the truck's batteries to draw power from these electric wires using a specified point of contact.

germany electric truck on e-highway

The big hybrid and electric trucks can use their top-mounted pantograph setup to draw the energy from the atop electric lines.

In recent findings, truck transportation has been the main courtesy of the worsening environmental pollution around the globe as trucks guzzle higher levels of diesel fuel compared to the passenger vehicles running on diesel. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, truck transportation should account for about 15% of the surge in the world's carbon footprint by 2050. Therefore, the praiseworthy e-Highway project in Germany could be one effective solution to encourage the use of railway and electric cars, in order to reduce the emissions released into the air environment in the long run. Besides, Siemens also insist that its advanced network can manage up to 20,000 Euros in saving fuel costs per each lakh kilometres for the big rig trucks that facilitate more favourable conditions for IC-engined trucks owners.

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Back in our country, the Siemens’ electrified pantograph setup has a lot of things in common with the system used on the public buses years ago. These public means of transport developed by Skoda Auto had the same roof-mounted pantograph which allowed tram lines to charge up while travelling in Mumbai or Bombay.

Having said that, with India’s transition into electrified vehicles in the foreseeable future as well as the predominance of goods transport by trucks in the country, building this kind of electrified section on the expressways could be a new horizon to explore.

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