CARSON, Ca. – Siemens is powering up a California blacktop.
The company has been chosen by the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) to create an eHighway system in the area served by the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach. As Siemens envisions it, an eHighway is a road with an overhead catenary system. (A catenary system is the electric power lines run above trolley or streetcar tracks and feed power to those vehicles.)
Up to four different battery-electric and hybrid trucks will be used during the demonstration phase of the project. These trucks will use the energy delivered via the catenary system to directly power their electric motors or replenish their on-board batteries. They will be able to connect or disconnect their current collectors from the catenary on the fly and at any speed, according to Siemens. When the trucks aren’t travelling the eHighway, they can run on diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), battery or other energy source, depending on the configurations of their particular hybrid engines.
The Volvo Group’s Mack Trucks subsidiary is developing a demonstration vehicle for the project. Siemens also is supplying current collectors to local California truck integrators whose vehicles will also be part of the demonstration.
Initially, the eHighway will be a one-mile, two-way stretch of road on the north- and south-bound sections of Alameda Street where it intersects with Sepulveda Boulevard in Carson, California. Construction of the system is expected to start immediately, and the first trucks should connect to the system in July 2015. The demonstration phase is scheduled to last for one year.
“This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenaries,” said Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “Southern California’s air pollution is so severe that it needs, among other strategies, zero- and near-zero emission goods movement technologies to achieve clean air standards.”
Matthias Schlelein, president of Siemens’ US mobility and logistics division believes the eHighway system makes sense in certain areas.
“The economic logic of the eHighway system is very compelling for cities like LA, where many trucks travel a concentrated and relatively short distance. Highly traveled corridors such as this are where we will initially see eHighway being applied,” he said.
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