Curbing Diesel Pollution | Germany Opens First Electric Autobahn

FRANKFURT: The ‘eHighway’ project, which sees hybrid trucks powered via overhead lines for the first time on a public Autobahn in Germany, launched on Tuesday, 7th May.

The 5km test track went into operation on the A5 between Langen/Mörfelden and Weiterstadt, south of Frankfurt, reported the Hessenschau.

The project, called Elisa (electrified, innovative heavy traffic on the Autobahn) is being tested in real traffic by five logistics companies with hybrid, battery-powered trucks on one of the busiest stretches of Autobahn in Germany.

A hybrid electric truck is a form of truck that uses hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) technology instead of using only a combustion engine. As the pictures show, the specially designed trucks can be charged as they drive beneath the installed overhead wires.

However, at a whopping €14.6million, the project, being funded by the government’s Environment Ministry, isn’t cheap.

The technology is intended to help reduce the pollution of heavy goods vehicles, with the test set to run until the end of 2022.

The power feed on the 5km overhead lines is installed in both directions of travel (towards Frankfurt in one direction and Darmstadt in the other) and has been tested over the last five months. However, now it’s ready for more frequent use, according to project managers. Truck maker Scania worked with Volkswagen and Siemens for the electric road project.

The project developers believe traffic will not be adversely affected by the electric trucks. The vehicles don’t have to slow down when docking and undocking from the overhead charges.

After charging the trucks can continue carry on in battery mode. If the vehicle’s batteries become empty, the hybrid engine with diesel takes over the drive.

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