Trolleybuses, which run on rubber tires on city streets and draw power from overhead lines, are a common sight in European cities. Now Swedish truck-maker Scania and German electronics giant Siemens plan to experiment with applying this technology to heavy freight trucks.
Beginning in February 2016, Scania will operate electric trucks on the Gävle Electric Road, a two-kilometer test route between the Port of Gävle and the city of Storvik.
The trucks are equipped with a hybrid powertrain developed by Scania. Power is transferred from overhead lines through a trolley-style pantograph developed by Siemens, which has been working with Scania on trials of electrified trucks since 2013.
When the trucks leave the Electric Road, they automatically switch over to their diesel-hybrid drive system. According to Scania, the trucks have all the flexibility of a regular hybrid truck, while using up to 90% less diesel fuel.
“The potential fuel savings though electrification are considerable, and the technology can become a cornerstone for fossil-free road transport services. Electric roads are also a way to develop more eco-friendly transport services by using the existing road network,” says Nils-Gunnar Vågstedt, who is responsible for Scania’s research in this field.