First U.S. eHighway Launched In California By Siemens

JAN 31 2018 BY MARK KANE 21

Siemens and the South Coast Air Quality Management District have launched the first U.S. eHighway – an electrified highway demonstration project near the U.S. Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

Siemens eHighway in California

The overhead catenary system spans a one-mile strip (in two directions) in Carson, California.

Three trucks have been adapted for the project – each with a different drive application: one all-electric and two hybrids (diesel and CNG).

The trucks are able to drive using electricity from Siemens’ eHighway via active pantograph.

According to Siemens, the eHighway doubles the efficiency of the Class 8 trucks and saves $20,000 over 100,000 miles of driving per truck.

The total cost of the project is $13.5 million:

“The $13.5 million project is funded by $2.5 million from SCAQMD, as well as $4 million from a settlement with China Shipping, $3 million from the California Energy Commission, $2 million from the Port of Long Beach and $2 million from LA Metro. In addition, Siemens provided a $1.3 million in-kind contribution. SCAQMD is providing an additional $2.1 million and the US EPA is providing $500K for the TransPower contract.”

Siemens demonstrates the eHighway for heavy-duty, long-range driving also in Sweden and Germany.

Check out a video on the operation today here.

Siemens eHighway in California

Siemens eHighway in California

Siemens eHighway in California

Press blast:

First U.S. eHighway demonstration running in California

  • Siemens and South Coast Air Quality Management District demonstrate country’s first electrified highway near two largest U.S. Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach
  • Siemens truck electrification technology has potential to reduce emissions and improve air quality

Siemens eHighway in California

Siemens and the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) are conducting a one-mile, zero-emission eHighway demonstration in Carson, Calif., near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Three big-rig trucks hauling freight are running along the stretch of highway that uses Siemens technology to electrify select highway lanes via an overhead catenary system. This catenary system supplies the trucks with electric power, similar to how modern-day trolleys or streetcars are powered on many city streets, and the system also allows for truck operation outside of the electrified sections of infrastructure.

Heavy-duty trucks are the number one source of smog-forming emissions in Southern California. Developing a zero- or near-zero goods movement system in the ports will reduce smog-forming, toxic and greenhouse gas emissions in communities around the ports, which are some of the most heavily impacted by air pollution.
“This project will help us evaluate the feasibility of a zero-emission cargo movement system using overhead catenary wires,” said Wayne Nastri, SCAQMD’s executive officer. “This demonstration could lead to the deployment of eHighway systems that will reduce pollution and benefit public health for residents living near the ports.”

Siemens eHighway in California

“Every day, Americans rely on the goods and services that are carried by freight. But with that mode of transportation predicted to double by 2050, only one-third of this additional travel can be handled by trains despite expansion of rail infrastructure. Experts expect global CO2 emissions from road freight traffic to more than double by 2050,” said Andreas Thon, head of Turnkey Projects & Electrification, North America. “This electrified truck system, what we call eHighway, can modernize the existing infrastructure using the latest technology to accommodate the growing amount of freight travel, reduce harmful emissions, and keep these ports, one of our country’s major economic drivers, competitive.”

One battery-electric truck, a clean natural-gas hybrid-electric truck and a diesel-hybrid truck are now driving on a one-mile catenary system on the north- and south-bound lanes of South Alameda Street from East Lomita Boulevard to the Dominguez Channel in Carson.
The system is expected to lower fossil fuel consumption, reduce truck operating costs, substantially reduce smog-forming, toxic and CO2 emissions, and help accommodate the growing reliance on freight transportation. The aim of this specific project is to demonstrate the eHighway system applied in truck operation on public roads in an urban U.S. setting and to further prepare applications for larger scale initiatives in the future.

Siemens eHighway in California

The demonstration system, similar to trolley systems or streetcars, features an overhead contact line that makes power available to trucks along the road and an active pantograph located on top of the eHighway trucks that transfers energy from the overhead lines to the truck’s electric motors, allowing the truck to operate with zero emissions while on the catenary system.

The pantograph can connect and disconnect automatically with the contact line via a sensor system while the trucks are moving. This allows the eHighway trucks to easily switch lanes or pass other vehicles without being permanently fixed to the overhead systems like a streetcar. To further ensure the same flexibility as conventional trucks, the eHighway vehicles use an electric-hybrid 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.

Siemens eHighway in California

Under a separate contract with SCAQMD, the air pollution control agency for Orange County and major portions of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the natural-gas hybrid and battery-electric trucks have been developed by Escondido-based TransPower and the diesel hybrid was developed by Mack Trucks, a part of the Volvo Group.

The $13.5 million project is funded by $2.5 million from SCAQMD, as well as $4 million from a settlement with China Shipping, $3 million from the California Energy Commission, $2 million from the Port of Long Beach and $2 million from LA Metro. In addition, Siemens provided a $1.3 million in-kind contribution. SCAQMD is providing an additional $2.1 million and the US EPA is providing $500K for the TransPower contract.

Siemens eHighway in California

In June 2016, Siemens launched the world’s first eHighway system on public roads in Sweden. The eHighway is running on a two-kilometer section of the E16 highway north of Stockholm through 2018. Two bio-diesel-hybrid vehicles from truck-maker Scania, subsidiary of Volkswagen, are being used for the project. In addition, three field trials of the eHighway technology on German highways are planned to start operation in 2019.

Siemens is dedicated to improving Californian infrastructure through technology—from commissioning combined-cycle flexible power plants in El Segundo that can power nearly 450,000 Californian homes and intelligent software that helps CAISO manage renewable energy, to Sacramento-built advanced technology light rail vehicles for San Diego and San Francisco and some of the country’s cleanest-running locomotives for the Capitol Corridor. Siemens also contributes to the local economy with an extensive footprint in the region including its over 1,000-person U.S. rail manufacturing and service headquarters in Sacramento and its next47 innovation hub in Silicon Valley.

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21 Comments on "First U.S. eHighway Launched In California By Siemens"

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Totally different kind of traction. Notice that the Siemens trucks have pantographs with carbon pads – the same kind that high speed rail uses.

Trolley buses pantographs are connected to the wires using spring loaded trolley poles – that are slow and constantly disconnect.

Trolleybuses also have carbon pads on the top of poles, albeit smaller ones.

Newer trolleybuses have options of automatically lowering/raising poles, batteries to ride on parts of the route without wires, even hydrogen FC range extenders to operate over longer routes without wires and in winter cold.

Trolleybuses are great and do not stink like diesel buses. The problem is that wiring all routes and maintaining network is often too expensive and make streets look ugly. That is why their popularity dropped over the last decades.

Perhaps they upgrade with some tracks next year.

I live right by this in Carson. It’s never used. Trust me. No truckers even use it and it’s literally less than half a mile long. A waste everyone’s money

This is not a waste of money, as it is a demonstration system. I have driven my Leaf by here many times, and this set up is going to help the LA harbor area reduce diesel emissions, when there is more infrastructure eventually installed.

Read the article. This is a technology demonstrator, not an actual public use system. There are only THREE special built trucks that even can use it and it only goes a mile. It’s an idea being tested.

I’m wondering if they incorporated a self driving function once the truck is in contact with the overhead wires. Otherwise I can see how the truck could easily be drifting in and out of contact. It seems like a no brainer to simply have the truck follow the wire.

Evidently, Siemens does not plan to produce battery-only EVs and does not have a battery factory.

Tesla trucks with 300/500mi range totally invalidate this whole approach design solely to minimize battery use.

That’s what I was thinking. So their idea is a mile long extension cord…lol

Except that the Tesla trucks are just a mad mans fantasy. This actually exists.

These system is actually superior to Tesla’s solution in every way except cost. The cost to electrify even just the interstates would crazy be high. They did this for 13.5 million for one mile, but I guess that included 3 truck conversions too. Hard to estimate the per mile cost of the overhear gantry.

This type of system should be built in rest areas and during the rest, they will recharge their truck for another 20 – 100 miles depending on the battery size.

Even upcoming Tesla trucks can make use of this catenary.

Batteries can handle urban areas easily, it’s long rural stretches that cause problems. Put a mile of wires every 10-20 miles an 100 mile BEVs can go coast to coast. Nonstop, if you want. Use Honda’s guardrail system instead of overhead wires and cars can use the same wires.

100 mile BEV semis would be lighter than diesel (more payload). They’d cost less upfront and much less to operate. Win, win, win.

Wait, this wasn’t in service yet?

Seeing mitts outlander plug in hybrid commercial on nba games

Finally, taxpayer money is being spent on an EV-related project even less practical and even more stupid than than building fueling stations for fool cell cars.

::triple facepalm::

The first streetcar powered by electricity appeared in the U.S. in 1886. Shouldn’t we be moving toward 21st century EV tech, and not backward to 19th century tech?

These Trucks are not ‘Stuck On Rails’, and free to use this lane or any other lane!

The fastest Trains on Rails use this System, and Mag-Lev Trains are not Significantly Faster than the Rail Trains that use this Technology!

While Mag-Lev Trains might be ‘Safer’ due to track design, they are only a bit faster!

The first electric cars was built in 1837. Are we moving backward into 19th century tech by improving them?

Exactly! And thanks for pointing out the irony. The “1800s” argument very popular with anti-EV people.

Battery improvements make both BEVs and catenaries relevant today. Better batteries allow BEVs to run at competitive speeds across greater metropolitan areas. And better batteries slash catenary cost >99% because we no longer have to wire up every mile. Wire up one mile of every 10-20 rural highway miles and we can cover the country’s 4 million miles of roads with only 10-20 thousand miles of catenaries.

Very nice, if US does not want it this technology is welcome in Europe.

However I would but a bigger battery and remove the ICE engine and the fioul tank.

I think it is better to put money in the infrastructure than in trucks, at last it will be quite more valuable.

One thing we in California can do is throw money down the drain.