Renewables are critical to the future of efficient, clean transportation. Sweden just opened the world’s first electric highway article tells that Sweden’s electric long-haul trucks are finally up and running. A pilot study on that first mile is currently underway in the town of Sandviken. The system, which is the first of its kind to open on a public road, will be tested over the next two years with two diesel hybrid trucks on a 1.2 mile-stretch of the E16 highway, located north of Stockholm. Here is picture of the systems from Siemens press release:
After several years of development with the global electronics manufacturer Siemens, Sweden has installed more than a mile of electric cables over the slow lane on one of its main highways. The project is a collaboration between Siemens and Scania to make an eHighway that is twice as efficient as conventional engines. The aim is to cut CO2 as transport accounts for more than one third of Sweden’s carbon dioxide emissions. Scania official Claes Erixon has said that the project is “one important milestone on the journey towards fossil-free transport.” Cleantech Canada quotes an unnamed Siemens representative, who says the move could cut energy consumption in half. Trucks equipped with the system draw power from the overhead catenary wires as they drive, enabling them to travel efficiently and with zero local emissions (total emissions depends how the electricity is generated).
An “eHighway” that allows hybrid trucks to connect to overhead power lines. The overhead lines are needed because massive trucks have different energy requirements than ordinary sedans that can run on batteries some distance. The the solution for long distance transportation hook the trucks up to some sort of external power source – in this case overhead lines. German engineering company Siemens and Swedish truck manufacturer Scania developed the technology for the highway. For the electrified lanes to work, all trucks must be electric-diesel hybrids, since they still need an engine to drive on other roads. The lines are supplied by Siemens and the trucks, which are fitted with hybrid electric diesel motors, are made by Scania. Electric Road E16 programme in Gävle financing consists of about SEK 77 million in public money, with about SEK 48 million in co-financing from the business community and the Gävleborg regional authority (total around 13 million euros).
Siemens Electrification of road freight transport page has description of the used system. The concept for electrification of road freight traffic consists of three core elements: the energy supply, the pantograph, and hybrid drive technology. The energy supply system is based on proven technology from the world of railroad electrification. The two-pole catenary system ensures a reliable energy supply for the eHighway truck. The overhead lines are fairly high up, 5.28 metres to be exact, which is well above the height of any lorry or truck allowed on the roads here, so normal traffic continues here as usual.
The truck itself is a hybrid electric, with a 360 horsepower motor that runs on both biofuel and a 5-kilowatt-hour lithium battery pack that provides enough juice to go about three kilometers. All the Scania trucks on the road are hybrid and Euro 6-certified, running on biofuel. The truck receives electrical power from a pantograph power collector that is mounted on the frame behind its cab. The trucks can freely connect to and disconnect from the overhead wires while in motion. When the truck goes outside the electrically-powered lane, the pantograph is disconnected and the truck is then powered by the combustion engine or the battery- operated electric motor.
|Truck model:||Scania G 360 4×2, weight 9.0 ton|
|Powertrain:||Parallell hybrid, integrated in the gearbox (GRS895)|
|Engine:||9-litre, 360 hp (runs on biofuel)|
|Electric motor:||130kW, 1050Nm|
|Battery:||Li-Ion 5 kWh (gives a driving range up to 3 km when not running on the e-way)|
What are the future plans for this system? Once the test is complete, teams will analyze the data to see if it’s possible, and economically viable, to administer further deployment in the future. Sweden sees the eHighway system as one way of reducing carbon emissions without building more railways, helping make informed infrastructure decisions, with the goal of a completely fossil fuel–free vehicle fleet by 2030.
It is still just a test stretch of two kilometres, but the hope is that it can be extended, perhaps the whole way from Gävle on the coast, to Borlänge, an industrial town some 110 kilometres inland. According to Ernström, extending the test to longer stretches of road is not too far off. “It’s fewer years than most people expect. Because we have proven that it can be done, it is not science fiction. Now we just need to look into the economy of the project and how will we finance it. The calculations we’ve done so far show that if we would electrify the whole of the E16 roadway, some 200 kilometres (both ways), there would be a return on the investment in maybe 7 or 8 years, from existing traffic,” he said.
This test is also a precursor to another electric highway planned to open for testing in California in 2017 where Siemens is also collaborating with Volvo. This California eHighway system will be installed on a traffic-clogged artery leading to the Port of Los Angeles.