Siemens and VW to test long-haul trucks charged by overhead power lines

The German Federal Ministry for the Environment has approved a subsidized pilot project to research the electrification of long-haul trucks using a roof-mounted pantograph to charge from an overhead power line.

Siemens will be responsible for developing the pantograph, and Volkswagen will provide hybrid trucks via subsidiary Scania, and will carry out the research. Trial operations are to begin in early 2019, and are scheduled to run for three years.

Two Scania trucks with hybrid drivetrains will perform test drives in traffic on three public highways in Germany. Later field trials will be expanded to a larger scale.

“We are expecting the project to produce some useful findings on the potential for saving CO2 emissions through electrification and on the required energy demand of the trucks,” said Dr. Axel Heinrich, Head of Group Research at VW. “These findings will then form input for the development of future generations of electric drives and the associated energy management.”

“The eHighway system is an economical and sustainable option for decarbonizing road transport. The field trials in Germany are an important step on the way toward realizing these systems,” said Roland Edel, Chief Technology Officer of the Mobility Division at Siemens. “Along with the electrical drive components, the smart pantograph is the key part of the system. An efficiency of more than 80 percent is made possible by the efficient conductive energy transmission to the truck.”


Source: Volkswagen

  • Joe Jackson

    Nothing new – I remember trolley busses ! I used to see them in Bradford.

    • Ramon A. Cardona

      Still in use on parts of Seattle, WA and Dayton, OH with busses but long range high speed commercial truck? A bit of a different challenge! Cheers.

      • Joe Jackson

        Thanks Ramon – just looked up Seattle trolley buses – very interesting – I think all the UK ones were double deck so the pick up arm was shorter. I assume the trucks will have batteries to give a range where there are no power pick ups therefore there could be sizable gaps between sections of overhead wires. The trolley bus system has a known number of busses on the wires at any one time – with trucks the cables would have to be massive to accommodate an unknown number of trucks.