Siemens just unveiled the first electrified eHighway in the United States. The one-mile long demonstration site is located in California near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The eHighway includes an overhead catenary system that charges electric big-rig trucks – similar to the system found above trolley or streetcar lines. Through the eHighway system, select highway lanes could be electrified, allowing electric vehicles to charge as they move and empowering a zero-emissions transportation system on existing port infrastructure.

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Siemens, in collaboration with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), is hoping to address a serious source of air pollution with the new eHighway system. Large trucks, such as those used for shipping goods across country, are the largest contributing source of smog-forming emissions in Southern California. “This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenary wires,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “This demonstration could lead to the deployment of eHighway systems that will reduce pollution and benefit public health for residents living near the ports.” Currently, a battery-electric truck, a natural gas-hybrid-electric truck, and a diesel hybrid truck are being tested for effectiveness at the demonstration site on South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson, California. While this may be the first eHighway site in the United States, the first such system on public roads opened in Sweden in June 2016.

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The eHighway system is designed with the future in mind. “Experts expect global CO2 emissions from road freight traffic to more than double by 2050,” said Andreas Thon, head of Turnkey Projects & Electrification, North America. “This electrified truck system, what we call eHighway, can modernize the existing infrastructure using the latest technology to accommodate the growing amount of freight travel, reduce harmful emissions, and keep these ports, one of our country’s major economic drivers, competitive.”

+ Siemens USA

Images via Siemens USA