Los Angeles may be one of the first global cities to adopt a new electric freight trucking system, unveiled by electrical engineering giant Siemens Corp. last week at the 26th Electric Vehicle Symposium, or EVS26.I've joked about doing such things in the past, but I'm pleasantly amused at the idea that someone is doing this seriously.
The new technology, called eHighway, is a highway electrification system that uses overhead electrical wires to transmit energy to freight trucks in select vehicle lanes, similar to modern-day streetcars.
“Most people think about cars when they think of vehicle emissions, but the reality is it’s freight trucks,” said Daryl Dulaney, chief executive of North American infrastructure and cities sector for Siemens.
Siemens’ eHighway is one several technologies the AQMD is investigating. It’s currently running pilots of zero-emission electric and fuel cell trucks at the Port of L.A. and envisions marrying the eHighway to near-zero-emissions technologies to help meet federal clean air standards.
The eHighway’s so-called catenary system uses diesel hybrid trucks outfitted with software that senses when an overhead electrical line is available and automatically connects or disconnects as needed. When the trucks’ rooftop connectors are attached to the electrical lines, the trucks run entirely on electricity. When the connectors are lowered, they run on a hybrid electric propulsion system similar to the Toyota Prius. In hybrid mode, the trucks save 30% on diesel fuel.
In addition to reducing emissions, the trucks also reduce noise pollution. But there is a downside: Siemens estimates the system will cost between $5 million and $7 million per mile to build.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Siemens working on overhead electrification system for trucks on the 710