Siemens reveals ‘eHighway of the Future’ concept in US

8 May 2012

Typical North American highway truck. Image by Wikimedia Commons

Siemens has revealed its plans to clean up US highways that have heavy amounts of truck traffic via its eHighway of the Future solution.

The engineering and electronics giant announced its clean-tech plans at the Annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles, which is running until 9 May.

Apparently, the eHighway mission will involve both the electrification of trucks and select highway lanes via overhead electrified wires.

Siemens said the concept would be similar to how modern-day trolleys or streetcars are powered on city streets in the US.

The company said the solution would be easy to integrate into existing highways and infrastructures, with the aim of lowering CO2 emissions and reducing pollutant load in residential and agricultural areas.

HGVs and CO2

Daryl Dulaney, CEO, Siemens Infrastructure & Cities in the US, said commercial trucks are largely to blame for vehicle emissions, rather than cars, in the US.

“Freight transportation on US roadways is expected to double by 2050, while global oil resources continue to deplete,” he said.

Dulaney also spoke about how CO2 emissions are forecast to leap by 30pc due to freight transport alone by 2030.

Siemens said at the electric vehicle conference that it has developed the technology to make the eHighway a reality, including infrastructure, software, hardware and drives.

The company said the technology would work with hybrid diesel electric freight trucks with built-in technology and software to connect to overhead electrified wires.

Testing out the technology

Such trucks, said Siemens, will be designed to use both electricity and diesel power, automatically switching to electric mode when they detect and attach to the overhead lines. Then, when a truck leaves the lines, it will switch back to diesel.

“Already more and more consumers are driving electric and hybrid vehicles,” said Dulaney. “If we can get the commercial freight industry to come on board, we’ll decrease emissions dramatically and improve sustainability.”

Siemens is testing the technology in Germany. It is also planning pilot projects for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, to connect to cargo centres.

Siemens also said the technology has the scope to be applied to densely populated cities.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic