Southern California Will Be Test Ground for Siemens eHighway

The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has tapped Siemens to install an eHighway system near the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Siemens' eHighway is the electrification of select highway lanes via a catenary system that supplies trucks with electric power – similar to how trolleys or streetcars are powered on many city streets – while still offering the same flexibility as diesel trucks, the company says.

A two-way, one-mile mile catenary system will be installed by Siemens, and the system will be demonstrated with different battery-electric and hybrid trucks. Siemens and the Volvo Group, via its subsidiary Mack Trucks, are developing a demonstration vehicle for the project. Siemens also is supplying current collectors – the technology that allows trucks to connect and disconnect from the catenary system at any speed – to local California truck integrators whose vehicles will also be part of the demonstration.

The catenary infrastructure will be installed on the north- and south-bound sections of Alameda St. where it intersects with Sepulveda Blvd. in Carson, Calif. Up to four trucks will be running in the demonstration, making multiple drives per day. To further ensure the same flexibility as conventional trucks, the eHighway vehicles use an electric drive system, which can be powered either by diesel, compressed natural gas (CNG), battery or other on-board energy source, when driving outside of the catenary lines.

The project installation will begin immediately, with the demo set for launch in July 2015.

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