OUR roads could be turned into a giant game of DODGEMS!

An overhead electric vehicle charger is being installed on the Autobahn in Germany and is being tested as a possible way to help HGVs and large trucks make the transition to electric power.

But to us it just looks like a huge dodgem circuit – just without the flashy colourful lights and questionable-looking bloke taking the money.

Anyway, this is a serious attempt to clean up the environment.

Motorists are continually whacked by Governments over polluting cars. But what about buses, taxis and trucks which belch out a ton of fumes in city centres day after day.

This could be the first sign of change.

These tests on overhead chargers have been conducted on a 2km stretch of motorway have been preciously conducted but now the project is expanding, revealing significant progress in the idea’s validity.

Project ‘eHighway’ is being managed by Siemens and financed by the state and federal governments.

Electric overhead charging for trucks

Electric overhead charging for trucks

Siemens were commissioned by the German state of Hesse to develop the system on the Autobahn.

A charging system will be built into a 10km stretch of the A5 federal autobahn.

It will run between the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Sud interchange at the Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt interchange.

Gerd Riegelhuth, Head of Transport of Hessen Mobil, commented on the goal of the project.

“Construction of the system will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating overhead contact systems with a public highway.

“The system will be used for real transport networks, and prove the practicality of climate-neutral freight transport in the urban region of Frankfurt.”

One of the biggest problems facing the haulage industry is that battery-powered vehicles are still not seen as a viable solution.

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These vehicles need to travel hundreds and thousands of miles daily and currently battery technology is not at a level which supports this.

Additionally the weight of the loads onboard these vehicles will almost certainly impact the range of the trucks.

Similar systems to the ‘eHighway’ are being considered in Sweden and California for trials.

Siemens explains that the overhead charging system could save €20,000 of fuel saving can be achieved by a 40-ton truck driving 100,000km on the e-Highway (2014 prices).

Additionally they state that 6,000,000 tonnes of CO2 can be saved every year if 30 per cent of truck traffic on German highways is electrified and supplied with renewable energy.

The eHighway project will be tested over the next two years.

Until then, if you want overhead electricity, nip down to your local fairground…

Phil Lanning