With Tesla about to enter the semi-truck market with an all-electric truck, the future of long distance hauling is moving towards electrification. To promote the use of electric trucks that will soon come equipped with a pantograph, Germany will soon have electrified highways. The German state of Hesse along with tech giant Siemens is building an eHighway that will have an overhead electric line (like those seen in local trains). The project is a trial project to see the feasibility of such a project and will only installed on a 10-kilometre stretch on a section of the autobahn.
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This will be the first such highway in Germany with the first ever such setup tested in Sweden a few years ago. Where the test setup was just a 2-kilometre stretch, this new setup will be much longer as we mentioned earlier. The original concept for such a road when first tested showed promising results with efficiency up by nearly 50 per cent and a sharp drop in air pollution as the trucks run purely on the electric motors and not on the diesel engines.
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Hybrid and electric trucks that are specifically designed to use these electrified roads will be equipped with sensors that know where the overhead electric lines are installed. These smart systems automatically raise the pantograph that is mounted on top of the truck cabin to draw power from the grid. While such a system might be still a long way away in terms of global acceptance, certain sections of road (even in India), like expressways, certainly have the potential to adapt and install this if the trucks exist in larger numbers.