Automotive

Trucks start rolling down California eHighway

Trucks start rolling down Cali...
Three cargo hauling hybrid trucks are involved in the Californian eHighway trial
Three cargo hauling hybrid trucks are involved in the Californian eHighway trial
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Overview of the Californian eHighway project
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Overview of the Californian eHighway project
North and south lanes of South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson have had overhead eHighway power lines installed
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North and south lanes of South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson have had overhead eHighway power lines installed
When the eHighway test trucks pull out to overtake, battery, gas or diesel systems kick in until they move back under the catenary lines
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When the eHighway test trucks pull out to overtake, battery, gas or diesel systems kick in until they move back under the catenary lines
The trucks used in the US eHighway pilot feature a pantograph up top that's raised to meet the contact lines above and power the electric motors
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The trucks used in the US eHighway pilot feature a pantograph up top that's raised to meet the contact lines above and power the electric motors
Three cargo hauling hybrid trucks are involved in the Californian eHighway trial
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Three cargo hauling hybrid trucks are involved in the Californian eHighway trial
The eHighway setup uses overhead power lines, similar to those used to power street trolleys around the world
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The eHighway setup uses overhead power lines, similar to those used to power street trolleys around the world
The pantograph can raise itself when onboard sensors detect the overhead lines
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The pantograph can raise itself when onboard sensors detect the overhead lines
The aim of the Californian demonstration is to show that the Siemens eHighway system will work on public roads in an urban environment
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The aim of the Californian demonstration is to show that the Siemens eHighway system will work on public roads in an urban environment
North and south lanes of South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson have had overhead eHighway power lines installed
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North and south lanes of South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson have had overhead eHighway power lines installed
The eHighway test fleet is made up of a battery-electric truck, a compressed natural gas/electric hybrid and a diesel/electric big rig
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The eHighway test fleet is made up of a battery-electric truck, a compressed natural gas/electric hybrid and a diesel/electric big rig
The trucks used in the US eHighway pilot feature a pantograph up top that's raised to meet the contact lines above and power the electric motors
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The trucks used in the US eHighway pilot feature a pantograph up top that's raised to meet the contact lines above and power the electric motors

Siemens started testing its "eHighway of the Future" concept in Germany back in 2012, with commercial vehicles retrofitted with a diesel/electric powertrain drawing electricity from overhead cables to zip along on electric motor power only. Public highway trials in Sweden followed, and now the US has joined the party with a mile-long demo near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

The aim of the Californian demonstration is to show that the Siemens system will work on public roads in an urban environment, while also substantially reducing smog-forming, toxic emissions around ports.

"This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenary wires," said South Coast Air Quality Management District's Wayne Nastri. "This demonstration could lead to the deployment of eHighway systems that will reduce pollution and benefit public health for residents living near the ports."

For this first US eHighway demo, three big rigs will be supplied with electric power by an overhead catenary system on both north and south-bound lanes of the mile-long route in Carson, California, similar to those used to power street trolleys around the world. The small test fleet is made up of a battery-electric truck, a compressed natural gas/electric hybrid and a diesel/electric big rig, but the eHighway is not restricted to just test vehicles – other freight haulers can share the road, too.

As with previous trials, the test vehicles feature a pantograph up top that's raised to meet the contact line above, which powers the electric motors in the trucks' hybrid powertrains. The pantograph can raise itself when onboard sensors detect the overhead lines, and lower again when the truck gets to the end of the line. If the driver needs to pull out and overtake, the batteries, natural gas or diesel systems kick in until the truck moves back under the catenary lines.

"Experts expect global CO2 emissions from road freight traffic to more than double by 2050," warned Andreas Thon of Turnkey Projects & Electrification, North America. "This electrified truck system, what we call eHighway, can modernize the existing infrastructure using the latest technology to accommodate the growing amount of freight travel, reduce harmful emissions, and keep these ports, one of our country's major economic drivers, competitive."

Three more field trials are due to start in Germany in 2019.

Source: Siemens

13 comments
CAVUMark
Great.... more wires to beautify our view.
Grunchy
Back to the past - we had this in Calgary for buses downtown back in the 1970s. I remember the driver having to jump out & use the huge long pole to pull the contactor back into alignment with the wires.
Joshua Tulberg
I'd take wires over smog any day.
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
could this be a brilliant way to charge up the batteries that will soon be coming down the pike? Perhaps something buried on ground to induce a charge and re-energize depleted batteries? O
RFitz
More wires - looks nice, sure. Now for the snow, ice, birds, and when a power pole gets knocked over allowing parts of the system/miles of line to be "off-line". We'll have shortages of food, gas or ?? for days and the roads are turned in to parking lots full of 18 wheelers. Yes, they have some backup fuel but not enough to get them to their destination or nearest fuel stop. Also, we have too many trucks in the left lanes already. Old tech - we should be able to do better - CA has plenty of money, right. They can build anything.
EZ
Isn't that what trains are for? They already have their own roads. Make them electric if you need to cut down on CO2 emissions. However, I've heard a few top notch scientists say CO2 emissions aren't a bad thing, as CO2 makes up just 5% of green house gases. Water vapor is the big one.
highlandboy
Surely we can have just small sections to charge, rather than trying to implement continuous overhead infra-structure.
JimFox
https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/climatescience/climatesciencenarratives/its-water-vapor-not-the-co2.html True, as far as it goes, but read above for reasons why CO2, CH4 etc have the greater effect over time. We cannot control water vapor in the atmosphere except by warming the air so that higher levels can arise before condensation & cloud formation. The water cycle is intensified by other greenhouse gases. Which "top notch scientists" are you referring to?
Derek Howe
WOW, what a stupid idea. Of course it's in California, where they think a balanced budget is a punch line. Semi's future will be electric, but not done this way. It'll be pure battery power. Hydrogen would be my second choice.
notarichman
at RFitz; california does NOT have a lot of money. due to a lot of stupid bureaucratic decisions they are spending too fast and may soon be bankrupt. one example; they are trying to eliminate ALL internal combustion engines, not realizing that trucks, boats/ships, generators, lawn mowers, trains, etc. all use them. go ahead CA tell the hospitals they can't have an ICE generator for when the power goes out! same thing with all the computer corporations.