Everything you need to know about electric highways


Everything you need to know about electric highways

To facilitate the transport of heavy goods, with the new variant of electric trucks, mobility is taking advanced steps to such novel structures as electric highways . These, already implemented in some countries such as Germany, Sweden and other European countries, have the objective of charging the vehicles while they circulate. Its technology does not pretend to be a revolution, but to become the best ally of the railway network.

In 2016, Sweden astonished the world by launching the first electric highways, only for trucks. At that time, Siemens and the Swedish manufacturer Scania teamed up to create what would be the first functioning electric highway. The intention was none other than to mediate to achieve a reduction in the consumption and emissions of trucks, and for which it has committed to having a transport sector independent of fossil fuels by 2030.

What are electric highways

One of the main issues to be discussed is that gasoline delivery trucks pollute a lot, and to reduce pollution we have resorted to this solution that has finally been opened and is already being used in Germany. Known as eHighway , it was the first electric highway in the world, and little by little, several countries are agreeing to its application on European roads.

When asked what are electric highways, these are characterized by offering vehicles a constant supply of energy that helps them to propel themselves or to recharge their batteries. In this sense, they are seen as the answer of technological advances to the transport sector in an increasingly connected world.

This, in order to achieve safer and faster communication by putting this technology at the service of the roads. They represent the first connection system in most of the world, a sector in which a push is necessary for better operation and adaptation to the environmental needs of the planet. Several logistics companies have been chosen for pilot testing, to which a total of 15 Scania hybrid trucks have been distributed.

How this motorway network works

After knowing what these types of electric highways are like, we will know how they work. Because something very representative of what we saw in the Scandinavian nation, and that was something that ended up being adopted in the (so far few) ideas that have been generated, is that they use a technology that  has an open configuration for others. manufacturers and technologies.

The heart of the system is an intelligent pantograph combined with a hybrid powertrain. A sensor system will then allow the pantograph to connect and disconnect from the overhead line at speeds of up to 90 kilometers per hour. Like the mythical trolleybus, the truck will be powered by a catenary from which it takes electrical energy.

How this motorway network works

In the case of Sweden, it was a medium-term plan that aimed to redefine road transport. At the moment it is only two kilometers, but the strategy is already defined: reduce dependence on fossil fuels in road transport. At the start of this project, 4.1 km were built between the city of Visby and the airport on the island of Gotland in Sweden. Currently there are other sections with a total length of 12 km.

Germany, the European spearhead of the eHighway

In the sense of electric highways, for the world of motoring and mobility, Germany represents the spearhead of Europe, and therefore it will not surprise you that they are among the first in the application of electric technology to create a network of freeways. In his case, the project was conceived in 2012, but it was not carried out until 2019. Your main plane come up with an ecological upgrade .

For this, they have established different plans in order to gradually implement this method, always taking as a reference the Swedish plan, which was really the pioneer with a much more ambitious long-term project. The key to the German method is to focus on the extensible power coupler.

This will make it possible for trucks to alternate when electrical power is needed with a diesel engine. The ease of performing this action allows, for example, to overtake other slower vehicles if necessary, reconnecting to the power grid as normal. The United States is also immersed in the tests.

Trucks, the first to enjoy the new technology

Because they are still in the testing phase, the first (and currently only) vehicles to enjoy this new technology as electric highways are trucks. Specifically, only Scania's electric truck is ready for use at present, but there are four more planned vehicles planned for next year.

The young German A5 is one of those four-lane electric highways built for the job. In the one on the right they have installed a catenary of two cables at a height of five meters. Electric trucks have an articulated bar system installed on the roof and connected to an overhead conductor that transmits the current to the batteries.

This lane can be used by all vehicles, regardless of the type of propulsion they use to circulate, but in the case of electric trucks, as they add kilometers, they accumulate energy in the batteries. Thus, during the time that these vehicles are being powered by electricity, they do not emit carbon dioxide and have an efficiency of 80%.

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