The first lane of the motorway has overhead power lines (catenary system) which the trucks connect to by a pantograph (the bit on a train which connects to the wire).
When the lorry isn't on a stretch of road with an electricity supply, or is over taking, it automatically switches to diesel-hybrid drive and lowers the pantograph. This means a lorry can be used just as flexibly and universally as conventional lorries.
Siemens is to conduct demonstrations in July 2015 on a two-mile stretch of motorway after installing a catenary system for electric and hybrid trucks in the vicinity of the largest US ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The objective is to completely eliminate local emissions such as nitrogen oxides and to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and cut the operating costs of trucks. The test results should be available in the summer of 2016
Advantages at a glance
- Easy to install: system can be seamlessly integrated in the existing road infrastructure.
- Environmentally friendly: no emission of CO2, nitrogen oxides, soot. Electricity can come from renewable sources.
- Efficient: vehicles can exchange energy via the catenary system
- Economical: electric motors are very durable and reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.