Siemens has been commissioned by the German state of Hesse to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport on a ten-kilometre stretch of autobahn.
This follows the supplier’s opening of the world’s first eHighway in Sweden in June 2016. The line in Germany will supply electricity for the electric drive of a hybrid truck. Siemens originally presented its innovative “eHighway” concept in 2012. The system will be installed on the A5 federal autobahn between the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Süd interchange at the Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt interchange.
With this field trial, the eHighway will be tested on a public highway in Germany for the first time. Siemens will be responsible for the planning, construction and, as an option, maintenance of the system. The system is being built as part of the joint project “Electrified, innovative heavy freight transport on autobahns” (ELISA) of Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB). Hessen Mobil, responsible for road and transport management in Hesse, is managing the project.
“Construction of the system will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating overhead contact systems with a public highway. The system will be used for real transport networks, and prove the practicality of climate-neutral freight transport in the urban region of Frankfurt,” said Gerd Riegelhuth, Head of Transport of Hessen Mobil.
“With the eHighway, we’ve created an economically viable solution for climate-neutral freight transport by road. Our technology is an already existing and feasible alternative to trucks operating with internal combustion engines,” said Roland Edel, Chief Technology Officer of the Mobility Division.
The core of the system is an intelligent pantograph combined with a hybrid drive system. A sensor system enables the pantograph to connect to and disconnect from the overhead line at speeds of up to 90 km per hour. Trucks equipped with the system draw power from the overhead catenary wires as they drive, enabling them to travel efficiently and with zero local emissions. Thanks to the hybrid system, operation outside of the contact line is also possible, thus maintaining the flexibility of conventional trucks.
Siemens is currently developing another eHighway demonstration project in California. This project is being undertaken in collaboration with vehicle manufacturer Volvo on behalf of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). Tests will be conducted throughout 2017 to see how different truck configurations interact with the eHighway infrastructure in the vicinity of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.