Siemens first revealed its eHighway concept back in 2012, where a hybrid diesel/electric truck moving down a stretch of road could raise its specially-developed pantograph to meet overhead power lines and roll along on electric power only. Last year the eHighway project moved from testing to a live install on a 2 km stretch of public roads outside Stockholm, Sweden. Now Siemens has announced similar plans for a 10 km stretch of Germany's A5 autobahn.
The first eHighway field trial on a public highway in Germany has been commissioned by the German state of Hesse, and is due for completion by the end of next year. It will run from the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Süd interchange at the Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt interchange – which adds up to 10 km (6.2 mi) of federal highway.
The planning, construction and maintenance of the system will be down to Siemens, while overall project management will be the responsibility of Hessen Mobil, the body that oversees road and transport management in the state. "The system will be used for real transport networks, and prove the practicality of climate-neutral freight transport in the urban region of Frankfurt," said Hessen Mobil's Gerd Riegelhuth.
As with previous eHighway installations, the overhead lines will supply electricity to the electric drive of a hybrid freight truck. When running under said lines, the truck will operate on electricity only, with the hybrid diesel engine kicking in when leaving the eHighway and operating on roads without overhead power lines.
Siemens reports that the system is potentially twice as efficient as ICE-only trucking solutions, while also reducing local air pollution.