Never mind electric trucks, what about electric roads? The world’s first recently opened for business in Sweden, as part of an on-going joint project between Scania and Siemens with an electrically-powered Scania G 360 4×2 hybrid prime mover making the inaugural journey on the two-kilometre long ‘e-highway’ section of the E16 motorway north of Stockholm.
The test truck is equipped with a pantograph mounted on a frame behind the cab roof which is raised to make contact with the electric road’s overhead power cables which run along the nearside lane of the two-lane motorway. When the pantograph is connected to the power lines an electric motor drives the hybrid truck’s wheels.
When overtaking, the pantograph is disconnected and the truck is driven as a regular hybrid. Once the vehicle has been passed the driver steers back into the electric lane, the pantograph is automatically reconnected and the truck resumes running on full-electric. When ‘off-line’ the hybrid truck is either powered by its conventional diesel engine or (for a short period) the battery-charged electric motor.
The system will be trialled over the next two years by Swedish fleet operator Ernsts Express and CEO Roger Blom says, “We’re excited to take part in this trial run of trucks which emit zero emission greenhouse gases under the overhead lines. We’ll test these trucks in all weathers.”
All the Scania hybrid test trucks are Euro 6-certified and will run on biofuel. According to the Swedish manufacturer, trucks powered by electricity are capable of reducing fossil fuel emissions by 80 to 90 per cent and energy consumption by 50 per cent or more.
“If everything goes as planned, we will soon see more electrified lanes, mainly on highways where there is a lot of traffic,” says Scania. “In Germany, interest is very high in implementing this technology on the autobahn. And the vision is that electrified lanes will contribute to reducing much of today’s emissions.”