Siemens tests eHighway system

Siemens sets up demonstration project in cooperation with Volvo Group designed to cut air pollution in California

© Siemens AG

In the context of the research project ENUBA (Electromobility in heavy commercial vehicles to reduce the environmental impact on densely populated areas), Siemens produced an holistic concept for the electrification of HGV traffic by means catenaries and to test the technical feasibility of the system on a specially built test track in the north of Berlin, Germany. © Siemens AG

Siemens is to conduct demonstrations on a two-mile stretch of highway 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 company was awarded the associated contract by Southern California's South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

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, and will indicate the suitability of the systems for future commercial use.

The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are seeking an emission-free solution ("Zero Emission I-710 Project") for a section of Highway 710, which carries a high proportion of shuttle truck traffic. The 30 kilometer route links the two ocean ports and the railroad transshipment centers inland.

As part of the demonstration of the eHighway systems, two lanes of Alameda Street in the city of Carson, California, are being electrified via a catenary system. On the road, e-trucks equipped with hybrid drive and smart current collectors will be supplied with electricity from the catenary, offering local zero-emission operation.

Siemens and the Volvo Group, via its subsidiary Mack Trucks brand, are developing a demonstration vehicle for the project. Siemens also is supplying current collectors, the technology that allows trucks to connect and disconnect from the catenary system at any speed, to local California truck integrators whose vehicles will also be part of the demonstration.

The smart current collectors enable overtaking maneuvers and automatic connecting as well as disconnecting at speeds up to 90 km/h. On roads without overhead lines the vehicles make use of a hybrid system which can be powered alternatively with diesel, compressed natural gas or via an on-board battery.

"Our eHighway technology eliminates local emissions and is an economically attractive solution for freight transport on shuttle truck routes," says Matthias Schlelein, head of Siemens Division Mobility and Logistics in the USA. "Long Beach and Los Angeles, the two US ports generating the most traffic, can benefit hugely from our technology."

"This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using catenary," said Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD's executive officer. "Southern California's air pollution is so severe that it needs, among other strategies, zero- and near-zero emission goods movement technologies to achieve clean air standards."

"I'm happy to see the Los Angeles region leading the way in bringing cutting edge technology to an increasingly important economic center," said Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino. "The eHighway project is a great example of how electricity can help power the next generation of transportation systems while also providing cleaner air for our citizens in the process."

Source: Siemens AG