Siemens eHighway Of The Future Concept
By: +David Herron; Date: Tue Dec 17 2019 13:08:34 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
Diesel trucks account for a large portion of the pollution plaguing our cities, and Siemens is testing a system to use components from electric rail systems on those corridors with massive truck populations.
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. 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.
It was announced on May 7, 2012 at the EVS26 conference.
The system discussed at EVS would install on electric or hybrid-electric big trucks the sort of gizmo used in electric rail systems to connect with overhead power lines. Additionally, overhead power lines would be installed along specific highway and road corridors, enabling trucks to be driven using power from the overhead power wires, rather than having to store electricity in an on-board battery pack. Finally, the trucks would have either a diesel engine or battery pack to enable the truck to be driven in places where there are no overhead wires.
The issue being addressed is the chunk of the total pollution inventory created by diesel big trucks. Diesel trucks are responsible for a large chunk of the pollution, and are especially worrisome because of the black soot and particulates thought to be a major culprit in global warming and negative health effects. There are corridors with especially high diesel truck traffic, such as the area between the Port of Los Angeles and two nearby two rail lines. There is a whole flotilla of trucks dedicated to hauling containers between the LA port, and the two rail lines, one is 4 miles away, the other 8-10 miles away, and the area between the port and those two rail yards is horribly polluted.
"When most people think of vehicle emissions, they assume cars do most of the damage, but it's actually commercial trucks that are largely to blame," says Daryl Dulaney, CEO, Siemens Infrastructure & Cities, United States. "Freight transportation on U.S. roadways is expected to double by 2050, while global oil resources continue to deplete. And by 2030, carbon dioxide emissions are forecasted to jump 30 percent due to freight transport alone."
Essentially, all that is needed is a hybrid diesel electric freight truck with built-in technology and software to connect to overhead electrified wires. The trucks are designed to use both electricity and diesel power and will automatically switch to electric mode when they detect and attach to the overhead lines. Once the truck leaves the lines, it switches back to diesel. As the technology becomes more widely adopted, the company believes every truck equipped with an electric drive system will be able to use the eHighway regardless if it's a diesel electric, pure battery, fuel cell range extended or CNG combustion engine vehicle.
Siemens is kicking off eHighway in the U.S. with a pair of planned demonstration projects at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach as a connection to cargo centers. Another pilot project is already underway in Germany and has proved a success so far.
Siemens's eHighway concept shares the fundamental principle of trolley infrastructure, which is that trolley cars share roadways with other traffic rather than traveling along a dedicated road bed.
Trolleys are powered by electricity from an overhead wire called a catenary. Though the trolley car cannot stray out of the lane that sports a catenary, cars and trucks can move seamlessly across all lanes. That leaves an opening for diesel-electric trucks to travel along a conventional road on diesel fuel, and then hitch up to a catenary wherever one is available.