Hybrid trucks are about to rule the road in Germany, with the installation of new “electric highways.” The country has just introduced its first stretch of an electric highway, a six-mile stretch of the autobahn south of Frankfurt, fitted with overhead wires that allow trucks to recharge on the go. Munich-based engineering firm Siemens AG is responsible for the system, which uses technology similar to trains and trams. Trucks can link up to the wires and drive while continuously receiving electricity to their battery. When the electric segment of the road comes to an end, the truck can continue driving on battery power.
According to Siemens, ehighways can save a 40-ton truck $22,000 over 62 miles of driving. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, parliamentary state secretary of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, said, “Electrified overhead line trucks are a particularly efficient solution on the way to climate-neutral freight transport. We’ve tested the system for many years on private test routes. We’re now inaugurating practical tests on the A5 autobahn between Frankfurt and Darmstadt, and two further test stretches will follow in the States of Schleswig-Holstein and BadenWürttemberg.”
The project was funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, costing around $16.4 million, plus an additional $17.2 million for field trials in the state of Hesse.