Siemens electrified autobahn

Siemens is electrifying 10km of autobahn

A 10km stretch of motorway in Germany is being electrified with the Siemens eHighway concept for hybrid trucks.

The German company has been commissioned by the state of Hesse to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport on a 10km stretch of autobahn. The line will supply electricity for the electric drive of a hybrid truck.

Siemens said it originally presented its eHighway concept in 2012.

The system will be installed on the A5 federal autobahn between the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Süd interchange at 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 a joint project by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building & Nuclear Safety (BMUB) – Electrified, Innovative Heavy Freight Transport on Autobahns (ELISA).

Hessen Mobil, the body responsible for road and transport management in Hesse, is managing the project.

Gerd Riegelhuth, head of transport at Hessen Mobil, said, “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.”

Roland Edel, chief technology officer of Siemens’ Mobility Division, said, “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.”

The eHighway is said to be twice as efficient as internal combustion engines – not only cutting energy consumption in half, but also significantly reducing local air pollution.

Siemens said that the core element of the system was an intelligent pantograph on the trucks combined with a hybrid drive system. Trucks equipped with the system operate emission-free with electricity from the overhead line, and they automatically switch to a hybrid engine on roads without overhead lines.

Commissioning of the first eHighway is expected at the end of 2018.

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