First eHighway in Sweden
Trucks connect to overhead catenary wires and are diesel-electric to avoid range anxiety
SIEMENS and Scania have returned to the tramway system to meet Sweden’s commitment to having a transport sector that does not use fossil fuels by 2030.
The companies’ modern tramway is called an eHighway and the basics work just like the pantrograph-powered trams of yore, as well as the modern municipal buses in China or giant dieselelectric hybrid trucks in Sishen open-pit mine.
But Siemens’ pantographs can connect and disconnect from the Scania trucks at speeds of up to 90 km per hour.
While connected to the overhead catenary wires, the trucks are only using their powerful electric motors, enabling them to travel efficiently and with zero local emissions.
Scania has avoided range anxiety by making the trucks dieselelectric hybrids, so that each truck can go off the eHighway and run on diesel, thus maintaining the flexibility of conventional trucks.
Sweden’s minister for infrastructure, Anna Johansson, and minister of energy, Ibrahim Baylan, inaugurated the first eHighway system on a public road.
The pilot catenary system will run until 2018 over a two-kilometre stretch of the E16 highway north of Stockholm.
“The Siemens eHighway is twice as efficient as conventional internal-combustion engines. The Siemens innovation supplies trucks with power from an overhead contact line. This means that not only is energy consumption cut by half, but local air pollution is reduced too,” said Roland Edel, chief engineer at the Siemens Mobility Division.
Transport accounts for more than one third of Sweden’s CO2 emissions, with almost half of that coming from freight transport. As part of its climate protection strategy, Sweden has committed to having a fossil-fuel independent transport sector by 2030. Due to the expected growth in freight transport, road freight is set to grow even as rail capacity is increased. A solution to decarbonised road freight is therefore necessary. During the two-year trial, Sweden’s Transport Administration Trafikverket and Gävleborg County want to create a knowledge base on whether the Siemens eHighway system is suitable for future longterm commercial use and further deployment.
“By far the greatest part of the goods transported in Sweden go on the road, but only a limited part of the goods can be moved to other traffic types. That is why we must free the trucks from their dependence on fossil fuels, so that they can be of use also in the future.
“Electric roads offer this possibility and are an excellent complement to the transport system”, said Anders Berndtsson, chief strategist at the Swedish Transport Administration.
The eHighway technology features an open configuration. As a result, battery or natural gas solutions, for example, can be implemented as an alternative to the diesel hybrid drive system used in Sweden. This allows the system to be adapted to the specific application.
Siemens is now developing another eHighway demonstration project in California. The project is being undertaken in collaboration with vehicle manufacturer Volvo on behalf of the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Tests will be conducted throughout 2017 to see how different truck configurations interact with the eHighway infrastructure in the vicinity of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in the U.S.
Imagine if the 10 000 trucks that use the N3 each day could be powered by electric motors up the steeper sections to maintain speed and avoid the bottlenecks caused by underpowered slow rigs, as Scania is testing in Sweden.