With the arrival of electric vehicles, it was suggested that developments in the sector to leave fossil fuels behind would take this line.
The biggest disadvantage is the range which these vehicles have at this time, and in the infrastructures that the different administrations provide to equip cities and roads with battery-charging stations.
Siemens (the German industrial and technology group) jointly with the Swedish lorry manufacturer Scania, will build the first electrical highway in Sweden.
With the objective of reducing dependence on fossil fuels for transporting goods by road, the Swedish Transport Administration awarded the contract to the County of Gävleborg.
The cost of the project is more than 9 million dollars of which almost 6 will come from private investment.
The aim is to equip a 2 kilometre section of the E16 motorway to the north of Stockholm with an electrified catenary to transfer electrical power to a hybrid-drive lorry with an intelligent pantograph fitted on top.
This may remind us of the legendary trolley bus, but in this case, if the road is not electrified, the vehicle can continue its journey using the internal combustion engine and will not be stranded as used to happen to the trolley buses in the past if they accidentally went out of the operating range of the trolley or pantograph.
It is not surprising that Siemens is the driver behind this project if we take into account that the inventor of the trolleybus was none other than Ernst Werner von Siemens himself, in 1882.
The details of the project were discussed by the Technology Manager of the Siemens division, Roland Edel, in his words:
“The electric highway is twice as effective as internal combustion engines. Not only does it reduce energy consumption, it also reduces air pollution”.
During the test period (2 years) of this project, lorries of the Scania brand, with diesel-hybrid technology were used, fitted with intelligent pantographs which are capable, using sensors, of automatically detecting, connecting and disconnecting to the catenary at speeds of up to 90 km/h.
When the vehicle is driven using the power supplied by the catenary, the polluting emissions are 0 and they can continue driving on highways without this system with the diesel-hybrid engine fitted.
If the test is successful, the Swedish Government will have achieved its objective: not depending on fossil fuels for transporting goods, thereby achieving a substantial improvement in the environment and a long-term reduction in logistics costs.
Ultimately a sustainable transport