Environment

Sweden cuts the ribbon on electric highway for trucks

Sweden cuts the ribbon on elec...
The trial will see two diesel hybrid trucks shuttle along the electric highway and use a pantograph mechanism to connect with the overhead wires
The trial will see two diesel hybrid trucks shuttle along the electric highway and use a pantograph mechanism to connect with the overhead wires
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The electric highway will cover a two-kilometer (1.24 mi) stretch of public road to the north of Stockholm
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The electric highway will cover a two-kilometer (1.24 mi) stretch of public road to the north of Stockholm
The trial will see two diesel hybrid trucks shuttle along the electric highway and use a pantograph mechanism to connect with the overhead wires
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The trial will see two diesel hybrid trucks shuttle along the electric highway and use a pantograph mechanism to connect with the overhead wires
The electric highway will serve as a testbed for a possible wider deployment in the coming years 
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The electric highway will serve as a testbed for a possible wider deployment in the coming years 

Integrating carbon-friendly power supplies into roadways is an idea loaded with merit, as the considerable global interest in this technology seems to indicate. Working to rid its independent transport sector of fossil fuels by 2030, Sweden has opened up its first electrified highway, which will serve as a testbed for a possible wider deployment in the coming years.

The eHighway is a transport system for electric vehicles that Siemens has been working on for a number of years now. Its deployment in Sweden will cover a two-kilometer (1.24 mi) stretch of public road to the north of Stockholm and will play host to a two-year trial to further the country's shift to a carbon-free road freight industry. It works much like an electric tram system, with power cables running overheard that hook up to the vehicles underneath to provide them with power.

Not only is the system claimed to cut energy consumption by half, but it has the added advantage of reducing local air pollution.

The trial will see two diesel hybrid trucks, which were built by Scania and modified to work with the system, shuttle along the eHighway and use a pantograph mechanism to connect with the overhead wires. Pantograph's are the folding frameworks that connect electric streetcars and trains to their power source.

The electric highway will cover a two-kilometer (1.24 mi) stretch of public road to the north of Stockholm
The electric highway will cover a two-kilometer (1.24 mi) stretch of public road to the north of Stockholm

This connection can take place at speeds of up to 90 km/h (56 mph) and also allows hooked up vehicles to trade energy. So if a truck is braking down a steep incline, for example, this energy can be recovered and fed back into the system for other vehicles to use as they accelerate. And because the trucks work on hybrid drive systems, they can operate as regular vehicles once they steer away from the overhead power lines.

"By far the greatest part of the goods transported in Sweden goes on the road, but only a limited part of the goods can be moved to other traffic types," says Anders Berndtsson, chief strategist at the Swedish Transport Administration. "That is why we must free the trucks from their dependence on fossil fuels, so that they can be of use also in the future. Electric roads offer this possibility and are an excellent complement to the transport system."

Source: Siemens

13 comments
Brian M
Excellent idea, always wonder why no one was considering powering electrical vehicles directly, clearly someone was!
Deres
Very costly solution. Moreover, the overhead lines as in railways are subject to failures associated to trees and manfunctionning pantographs. I also see that because of the height difference, such a system cannot be compatible with all vehicles especially cars. Finally, as this system can onkly exist on highways that means that anyway all vehicule shall be equipped with two propulsion systems.
gizmowiz
Ugly system. I despise overhead wiring of any kind be it power delivery for homes and businesses, power to trains/trams or in this case for power to a truck. Can't we just bury the stuff?
BuzzTechnology
A lot less expensive solution would be to have the electrical supply embedded in grooves within the central reservation Armco/crash barrier like this - http://www.halfbakery.com/lr/idea/Slot_20car_20freeway
Nomen
For years on different internet sites I have proposed a twenty mile dedicated truck lane every hundred miles on major highways so trucks could charge their batteries on the move and then exit to side destinations. Ideally this would have the induction coils buried in the roadway to handle any sized vehicle. Many highways are already parallel to power lines all across the country. This along with an upgrade to our rail system could save a huge amount of fuel.
f8lee
To add to @Deres thoughts, it seems to me the major difference with this to overhead powered trains is the lack of limited lateral movement of a truck as compared to a train running along a track. So if the truck needs to change lanes to avoid an accident, power is lost? Or if the secondary engine kicks in, then the truck must move back to the original lane to met up with the overheads again? Sounds daunting.
Nelson
I wonder how many birds will die because they landed on wires?
Daishi
The truck is a diesel hybrid but something like this could be used for fully electric trucks too. Instead of using large batteries they could skimp on battery size and power the truck through lines like this along long stretches (while recharging batteries so the truck would have enough power to get where it's going after it exits the highway. Instead of a carpool lane it would be an EV charging lane. The problem with that is it would require a massive infrastructure deployment on tons of roads before any vehicles using it are viable. Another issue I see is friction of the metal on metal connection at highway speeds. The sound it makes from scraping metal on metal at speed might be a nuisance to people nearby. I think it would be cool if we put charge plates near stops like red lights and put capacitors in cars that could (quickly) draw power from them. Even if you only pulled in enough power for 2-3 miles of range you could drive locally off the capacitor alone without needing the main battery. The problem with that would be that wireless charging is not high enough throughput and any exposed wiring/conducting surface would be susceptible to being grounded by water so the connector mechanism would require some engineering.
Lbrewer42
What a waste for nothing but media-manufactured pseudo-science. How much of the "greenhouse gas," CO2 does a greenhouse owner have to add to make the temp inside the greenhouse hotter? Answer: None. The concentration of CO2 inside oa greenhouse is the same as outside - IF there are nbo plants in the greenhouse. If there ARE plants, there is LESS CO2 inside - even though it is hotter inside - than outside. Plants USE UP the CO2 during photosynthesis, release O2, and H20. It is the H20 - or HUMIDITY in the air due to the plants USING UP the CO2 that holds in the heat. Why do you think there is a heat index on the nightly weather forcast/report? It is the water vapor in the air (humidity) that holds the heat. But the powers that be named CO2 a "greenhouse gas" to make people think CO2 was horrible for the environment and push their global warming agenda. Why? Just how many billions have been made by uneeded coercion of car emissions tests? How about fees imposed upon businesses for making plants "greener" when they have become no greener in the name of the almighty dollar and more controls? The science books in 7th grade are all it takes to see this media-propagated farce. Google "Game Over, the IPCC quietly admits Defeat" if you care to see the actual scientific data by the very organization used by global alarmists to "prove" global warming as fact. The IPCC data, when compiled, showed NO warming, and you can see it for yourself... or continue being a puppet b/c you don;t want to find out the suckers they have made of everyone.
xs400
I'm for this system, in spite of its many drawbacks. Ugly? Yes, but cars and trucks are ugly by themselves and those car farts aren't doing any good either. Hope they'll come up with improvements, but I would like to see the ICE go (at least from transportation use). Batteries? OK, but we're not there yet. Big Brother doesn't like trains, wants each one to travel separately, given these constraints, this is a good solution.