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 highway between Zeppelinheim at the Frankfurt airport and Darmstadt.
According to a Siemens statement, this is the first time that the eHighway will be tested on a public German highway. It is expected to be commissioned at the end of 2018. Siemens originally presented its innovative eHighway concept in 2012.
“With the eHighway, we’ve created an economically viable solution for climate-neutral freight transport by road,” said Roland Edel, Chief Technology Officer of the Mobility Division at Siemens.
“Our technology is an already existing and feasible alternative to trucks operating with internal combustion engines.”
The ten-kilometre stretch with the overhead contact line 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, which is 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,” said Gerd Riegelhuth, head of transport at Hessen Mobil.
“The system will be used for real transport networks, and prove the practicality of climate-neutral freight transport in the urban region of Frankfurt.”
The overhead line will supply electricity to hybrid trucks with an intelligent pantograph. Trucks with this system operate locally emission-free with electricity from the overhead line and automatically switch to a hybrid engine on roads without overhead lines.
According to Siemens, the eHighway is twice as efficient compared to internal combustion engines. Not only will this cut energy consumption in half, it will also significantly reduce local air pollution.
Image credit: Siemens