Germany multinational corporation, Siemens, has been working to make ‘eHighway’ systems a reality. The system combines hybrid trucks with overhead electrical wires that enable the heavy vehicles to run on electricity. The technology has already been tested in Germany to successful results. Now, the corporation is looking towards the United States, Los Angeles and California to be precise, to test its systems which will greatly benefit the regions that see a high level of transit.
The eHighway system was unveiled at this year’s Electric Vehicle Symposium. The technology relies on a network of overhead electric lines that allow trucks to switch seamlessly from diesel to electric-mode. When the vehicles are disconnected from the wires, they switch to their diesel engines. When they brake, kinetic energy is generated which can be fed back to the grid for use by other hybrid trucks.
The Siemens-designed system will be installed in at least one lane of a highway. As the special hybrid trucks pass under the lines, they can either be automatically or manually connected to the overhead wires. The pantograph used has been custom-designed by the corporation itself and will monitor connections between the trucks and wires with precision. Even when the trucks make horizontal shifts, they will remain connected to the wires till they’re disconnected manually or automatically by the drivers.
Heavy vehicles remain a bone of contention with environmentalists for their smoke spewing ways. With the burgeoning population and increasing consumer demands, it’s believed that road traffic may double by the year 2050. Siemens’s eHighway system seeks to temper the problem of pollution on short routes, for instance, in cities, between ports, mines and cargo centers. The company is also looking to partner with manufacturers of heavy vehicles in order to integrate its pantographs, onboard software and engine systems with new and existing trucks.