One day we may look back and wonder how 40-ton lorries were ever allowed to rumble through our villages and city streets. Though they make up only 3% of vehicles, lorries account for one quarter of Europe’s road transport emissions – a figure that’s expected to grow as traffic increases further. On top of that, heavy goods vehicles are involved in a disproportionate number of fatal crashes.
For its part, the engineering firm Siemens is helping to address one of these persistent threats. The company has developed what looks like an HGV tram hybrid. The company claims its eHighway is twice as efficient as internal combustion engines. Rather than rely on a large diesel engine that can return as few as four miles per gallon, this hybrid approach delivers electricity via overhead power cables. The result is that energy consumption is halved and local air pollution lessened.
The company has recently has been commissioned by the German state of Hesse to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport on a 10-kilometre stretch of motorway. The line will supply electricity for powering its electric hybrid trucks. The system will be installed on the A5 federal autobahn between Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt interchange.