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article imageGermany testing overhead cables to charge hybrid trucks

By Ken Hanly     May 9, 2019 in Technology
Germany has a trial project that is using electrified cables to recharge the batteries in hybrid trucks as they are driving. The cable system called the eHighway was developed by Siemens and works with a custom Scania truck developed by the VW group.
For now the eHighway is only six miles long
The Business Insider reported on the project: "On Tuesday, the German government introduced the technology on a six-mile-long stretch of Autobahn near the city of Frankfurt. It uses 670-volt direct-current overhead cables which let electric trucks draw down power and recharge their batteries on the go. The program, called ELISA (electrified innovative heavy traffic on the Autobahn), is an environment ministry-sponsored project involving electronics giant Siemens and authorities from the state of Hesse, where it is taking place."
The trial is set to run until 2022 and it will be decided then if the project will be expanded.
How the system works
The eHighway delivers
670 volts to the custom made truck's pantographs a type of conductor rods. They can be seen in the appended video and photo. Trucks must be traveling less than 56 mph to use the system. However, the trucks can run entirely on their electric motors while on the system and at the same time they are charging their electric batteries. Once it is off the grid it can continue running on its batteries until the diesel engine is needed.
The eHighway has already seen trials
Siemens' eHighway technology has also been demonstrated in Sweden and California. Sweden has also installed underground rails on one road that are capable of charging electric cars. Actually running vehicles from electric cables is an old technology still used in many cities around the world to power trolley buses.
In time we may see fully electric large trucks
Siemens claims the technology will save a 40-ton truck 20,000 euros ($22,000) in fuel costs over 62,100 miles. In the longer term a fully electric truck such as the planned Tesla Semi could save much more by being fully electric. They would not be limited to specific lanes on a limited number of highways. However, with present batteries large electric trucks would have a limited range before they need to have a recharge.
Germany planning more electrification of trucks
The German transport ministry recently issued a study claiming that 80 percent of Germany's truck traffic could soon be electrified.
Two more eHighway sections are already in the process of being built. One is in the north in Schleswig-Holstein, and the other in the southwest in Baden-Wurttemberg.
More about Hybrid trucks, charging hybrid trucks, Germany
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