A slow rollout of hybrid trucks onto the e-highway
May saw the country’s first testing ground for electric trucks powered by overhead wires commence on the A5 in Hesse. But it might take some time to get results: Until now, only one vehicle was using the route regularly.23 Oct. 2019 David Schahinian
The many masts and kilometers of cables to be seen when driving on the highway between Langen and Weiterstadt, on the outskirts of Frankfurt, have probably piqued the curiosity of passers-by. Because at a first glance, their purpose as a testing route for electric trucks is not obvious. There was only one vehicle using it once or twice a day, which was always the same one, as the Frankfurt Review (FR) reported. The Free German Democrat Party made an inquiry to the Hessian State Parliament, and the answer was illuminating: The Parliament had assumed that Scania already provided all five hybrid trucks for the 10 km long “e-highway”, which was not the case. But at least the feedback has been positive so far: “The driver is very satisfied,” according to the shipping company that is using the first electric truck, as reported by the FR. Since September, a second electric truck has been on the highway, too. The last three are expected by June 2020, picking up speed – and power.
The goal of the ELISA project from Hessen Mobil is to scientifically prove that electrifying heavy-duty traffic can contribute to achieving climate goals. The five vehicles will be leased to logistic partners and tried out until the end of 2022. They are equipped with sensors in the roof that recognize whether there is an overhead line above the vehicle. If so, the outlets come out of the roof of the driver’s cabin, which provide the truck’s electric motor with power and charge its battery.
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