Siemens announced its eHighway of the Future concept at the 26th Annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles. The eHighway concept is the electrification of trucks and select highway lanes via overhead electrified wires similar to how modern day trolleys or streetcars are powered on many city streets.
According to Siemens: “The eHighway solution is an environmentally friendly, sustainable and efficient solution for today’s truck transport. It will use less fossil fuels, substantially reduce CO2 emissions, reduce pollutant load in residential and agricultural areas, and, most importantly, will be very easy to integrate into existing highways and infrastructures.”
The idea would give most drivers and fleet operators a chuckle at first glance, but once you’ve let it sink in, it may begin to seem a little less of a novelty and more thoughtful (though still radical) than at first glance. For city and near-city freeway transport, for instance, and for use on heavily-trafficked local roads such as those near ports or warehouse districts, it would be a great concept.
If the truck itself is a hybrid – meaning dual fuel, so it can run on electricity and/or another fuel like diesel or hydrogen – then this would be a great way to reduce emissions and even idling in urban areas. For over the road highway transport? Maybe not as realistic.
The concept is being tested in Germany right now and pilot projects are planned for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to connect cargo centers and the loading docks.
Here’s video of how it is envisioned to work:
(Note: the statement that trucks are largely to blame for emissions problems is correct world wide, but not in the U.S. where passenger cars account for almost double the emissions of heavy, on-road vehicles.)