Five specially-customized Scania trucks are currently operating on Germany’s first electrified street, which is located near Frankfurt.
Global warming, deforestation, and the depletion of fossil fuels are three of the most pressing issues of our day, and policymakers around the world are working tirelessly to find long-term solutions. The EU currently has some of the strictest rules on vehicular emissions, and a number of European countries have committed to reducing their carbon footprints in the coming years.
A brilliant approach to the problem has been devised by Germany: an electrified highway with heavy electric trucks. Siemens developed the design, which uses overhead cables to enable trucks to draw power for their electric motors on a 5-kilometer stretch of the A5 motorway in Hessen, essentially resulting in zero diesel emissions for these trucks. The trucks will turn to their hybrid powerplants (diesel/electric) while not on the eHighway.
The eHighway network, according to Siemens, reduces CO2 and NOX emissions significantly. The trucks would be able to drive at speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour when attached to the electric cables. Germany unveiled the eHighway in May of last year, and it has been entirely available for ‘eTrucks’ since July 2020.
Five Scania R450 hybrid trucks have been equipped with pantographs and are currently being run by five companies: Schanz, Meyer Logistics, Contargo, Merck, and Knauf Group. The data from these large trucks will be analyzed to see if such eHighways are feasible and have real-world benefits.
“If the feedback is positive, and about one-third of the German motorway network is equipped with electrified catenary lines, approximately 80% of the heavy trucks registered in Germany will be able to operate in an electric mode using this technology in the future,” Heinrich Kerstgens, Co-Managing Director of Contargo, said. This would make a massive difference in terms of lowering greenhouse emissions.”
The trucking industry, perhaps much bigger than the passenger car industry, is one of the largest consumers of fuel. There is a tremendous possibility for reducing reliance on diesel in particular, and fossil fuels in general, for Germany’s electric-rail-type heavy trucks. Germany is testing its second electrified route, the A1 in Schleswig-Holstein, and will have a third, the B462 in Baden-Württemberg, ready by the end of the year.