Siemens To Conduct eHighway Trials With Electric Volvo Trucks In California

3 years ago by Mark Kane 19

Siemens tests electric-powered system for heavy good vehicles

Siemens tests electric-powered system for heavy good vehicles

Intelligent pantograph enables full vehicle flexibility

Intelligent pantograph enables full vehicle flexibility

Siemens announced that soon it will bring the eHighway concept to California – where together with Volvo’s subsidiary, Mack Trucks, it is preparing a new demonstration project.

All thanks to $13.5 million grants provided by various sources (see details), which enable Siemens to build a 2-mile long catenary system for electric and hybrid trucks at I-710 and develop one diesel hybrid electric class 8 truck.

“Siemens is to conduct demonstrations on a two-mile stretch of highway after installing a catenary system for electric and hybrid trucks in the vicinity of the largest US ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The company was awarded the associated contract by Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The objective is to completely eliminate local emissions such as nitrogen oxides and to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels and cut the operating costs of trucks. The test results should be available in the summer of 2016, and will indicate the suitability of the systems for future commercial use. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are seeking an emission-free solution (“Zero Emission I-710 Project”) for a section of Highway 710, which carries a high proportion of shuttle truck traffic. The 30 kilometer route links the two ocean ports and the railroad transshipment centers inland.”

“As part of the demonstration of the eHighway systems, two lanes of Alameda Street in the city of Carson, California, are being electrified via a catenary system.”

Scania G 360 4x2 with pantograph, electrically powered truck at the Siemens eHighway. Gross Dölln, Germany

Scania G 360 4×2 with pantograph, electrically powered truck at the Siemens eHighway. Gross Dölln, Germany

According to press releases, Siemens’s current collectors allows trucks to connect and disconnect from the catenary system at any speed and enable overtaking maneuvers and automatic connecting, as well as disconnecting at speeds up to 90 km/h (56 mph).

On roads without overhead lines, the truck will drive like regular hybrids.

We are curious what Californians will say when the see a trolley truck on the highway (on the right, we attached a photo from Germany’s test track).

Matthias Schlelein, head of Siemens Division Mobility and Logistics in the USA commented:

“Our eHighway technology eliminates local emissions and is an economically attractive solution for freight transport on shuttle truck routes. Long Beach and Los Angeles, the two US ports generating the most traffic, can benefit hugely from our technology.”

Barry Wallerstein, SCAQMD’s executive officer stated:

“This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using catenary. 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.”

Los Angeles Councilman Joe Buscaino remarked:

“I’m happy to see the Los Angeles region leading the way in bringing cutting edge technology to an increasingly important economic center. The eHighway project is a great example of how electricity can help power the next generation of transportation systems while also providing cleaner air for our citizens in the process.”

HGVs with hybrid drive technology for use on electrified routes

HGVs with hybrid drive technology for use on electrified routes

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19 responses to "Siemens To Conduct eHighway Trials With Electric Volvo Trucks In California"

  1. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Seems like buried inductive charging would be a better way to go.

    1. Jouni Valkonen says:

      No, it is not. Inductive charging is by far too expensive to maintain, to construct and to use. But both technologies are already inferior to present day battery technology.

      Battery technology is already cheap enough on routes that are approximately 200 km and charging technology is fast enough that replanishing charges can be done while the driver is having compulsory break. Electric heavy trucks can be charged about one MW charging power and this is fast enough.

      1. Mikael says:

        I would like to see the BEV truck able to howl 60 ton the distance of 400 km – 1200 km in a day.

        I wonder what the sheer weight of just the truck would be and how many millions it would cost. 🙂

        For heavy trucks over head lines is probably both the best and the cheapest way. And easily implementable at a large scale.

        1. Jouni Valkonen says:

          The problem is that the catenary system is only viable at short distances with frequent heavy traffic, but so are the battery systems.

          If a truck burns 30 to 50 liters Diesel per 100 km then we see that for 200 km route, it is necessary to have about 60 to 100 kg Diesel fuel. The energy density of Diesel is about 40 MJ per kg and electric drivetrain is three to four times more energy efficient.

          Hence we need battery that can store about 600 MJ to 1300 MJ energy or battery pack that has capicity about 200 kWh to 400 kWh. If the cost of batteries is assumed 200 to 300 dollars per Wh and enegy density is 270 Wh per kg, then we get for rough figures:

          The cost of all electric truck battery pack is: 40 to 120 kilodollars.

          The weight of all electric truck battery pack is: 740 kg to 1500 kg.

          These figures are reasonable and also it is good to keep in mind that partial overhead lines can be used for extending the range.

          No electric truck is required to travel 1200 km on single charge as the driver must have about one hour break after every four hours of driving. Therefore with partial overhead lines and fast charging during breaks 400 kWh battery pack should be sufficient for heavy electric truck.

          And if the prediction is getting realized that the cost of EV batteries falls to 100 dollars per kWh in few years, 40 000 dollar investment for heavy truck battery is not at all unreasonable! As fuel costs are quite prominent and they may get more expensive as the price of oil is unpredictable.

          1. Andrew says:

            You mean catenary systems like trains? I’ve seen a train or two used for long-distance.

          2. DaveMart says:

            Volvo actually build all sorts of trucks, including hybrids etc

            For heavy long distance trucking they have batteries alone down as way too heavy, hence their involvement in this and other systems.

            You have dropped a decimal place or so in your unsourced calculations.

            1. Jouni Valkonen says:

              Volvo’s batteries have more than half the energy density of e.g. Tesla/Panasonic batteries. They have about 120 Wh / kg cell level energy density where as Tesla has cell level energy density about 270 Wh / kg.

              Also Tesla expects that they can further increase the energy density and this probably refers to that Panasonic have had 4.1 Ah cell prototypes ready quite some time. And certainly they expect significant cost reductions. At least 40 % cost reduction but probably all the way to $100 per kWh.

              Of course you do not believe anything that Tesla claims, so no further discussion is not relevant.

              1. Jouni Valkonen says:

                The biggest problem with batteries and heavy trucking is that 400 kWh battery is probably too small. 60 ton truck probably requires 600 to 800 kWh battery pack, because we cannot assume full fast charges and full discharges, because it eats the longevity of battery. This already weights about 3 tons. Not sure if this is too much. At least it probably costs too much.

                However batteries are in this phase good for light delivery trucks. Such as BYD introduced recently.

                Ps. few grammatical mistakes such as double negative above.

          3. Mikael says:

            Over head systems like these are perfect for long distances. It’s where they should and will be implemented.
            It’s for the main highways where most of the heavy traffic run.
            Then a “small” battery for 50-100 km range might be interesting to cover most of the off-grid miles. But it might be redundant with even that much range since most of the distribution centers are close to the main highways anyway.

            So, 4,5 hours driving at 90 km/h (which in reality is somewhere between 100-120 km/h) is 405 km (or up to 540 km).
            And a number of trucks charging at 1 MW or so at the same time to be able to fill the batteries.

            Then too large battery, to expensive and will be production limited for like forever 😛

            But for less heavy loads and/or shorter distances like between cities or from distribution centers to city centers battery powered trucks might be viable and interesting for some.

  2. vadik_veselovsky says:

    I wonder why there is no battery in the pic

    1. Mikael says:

      Probably because you don’t need a battery.

  3. Ellison says:

    This is really smart. We could use them on overhead wire streetcar and bus routes for urban deliveries too.

    There is a also a streetcar system with no overhead wires, the center rail is only energized when the train is covering it. Very, very smart and used in Europe.

    1. Andrew says:

      And also the United States.

  4. HVACman says:

    In dense urban areas, such a hybrid would make sense, as well as the main interstate truck routes, like I-5 and 80. Internal electric metering with a satellite or 4G cell connection handles real-time “fuel” fees.

    They will need some battery to even out electric loads and transition from electric to ICE when changing lanes, etc.

    Imagine the economic benefit in shifting from diesel to electricity that is 1/3 the cost for the same HP, plus even better low-end torque. It should get a lot of interest.

  5. Spec9 says:

    “We are curious what Californians will say when the see a trolley truck on the highway”

    They’ll say “That is just like the MUNI buses in San Francisco.”

  6. Mike I says:

    Boston also has a hybrid bus that has a catenary system for part of the route.

  7. Jesse Gurr says:

    So they won’t install this on the 710 for the pilot install? I guess that makes sense if they don’t want to shut the freeway down to install this system if it doesn’t work out.

  8. Ocean Railroader says:

    It might make sense to have some type of interurban streetcar line set up for this. In that I remember reading in the 1930’s the Ashland streetcar system had a streetcar bus hybrid that could drive on streetcar tracks like a streetcar and drive on city streets like a car. I think having a streetcar line run next to or down the center of the expressway would be better. In that the truck could drive on to the streetcar tracks and drive down the highway with catenary. It would then reach a exit point and swich back to city streets.

    Also back in the 1920’s there were a lot of streetcar interurban lines that carried freight on special streetcars built for it.

    This type of tech with the trolley truck is really from the 1920’s and is called a trackless trolley. I hope they try building at least a 20 mile long catenary system to try it out. In that if they start trying projects like this it means oil running out is around the corner.

  9. jmac says:

    This is old news as there were many electric street cars in the U.S. in the 1930’s.

    General Motors streetcar conspiracy

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Photo of Pacific Electric Railway streetcars stacked at a junkyard on Terminal Island, Los Angeles County, California, March 1956.

    Hit the link below for photo.
    ___________________________________________

    “The General Motors streetcar conspiracy (also known as the Great American streetcar scandal) refers to allegations and convictions in relation to a program by General Motors (GM) and other companies who purchased and then dismantled streetcar and electric train systems in many cities in the United States.

    Between 1936 and 1950, National City Lines and Pacific City Lines—with investment from GM, Firestone Tire, Standard Oil of California, Phillips Petroleum, Mack Trucks, and the Federal Engineering Corporation—purchased electric surface-traction systems in 45 cities including St. Louis, Baltimore, Newark, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego and converted them into bus operations. Several of the companies involved were convicted in 1949 of conspiracy to monopolize interstate commerce but were acquitted of conspiring to monopolize the ownership of these companies.”…..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Motors_streetcar_conspiracy

    People who don’t know all this, just can’t understand why informed people hate the oil companies and their little brother the internal combustion engine car companies.

    Especially now…. that we have seemingly come to our senses and decided to run inner city transport on electricity and not diesel fuel (oil).

    It was a very expensive mistake and now we are paying billions to build and restore electric transport to the cities.

    A big no thanks to GM and Standard Oil.

    It’s no wonder the oil companies and internal combustion car companies are despised, and that’s because taxpayers are today paying Billions to restore what Big Oil and Detroit tore up for their own profit.