Scania Testing Electric Big Rig Truck With Conductive And Wireless Charging Capability (w/video)

MAR 20 2014 BY MARK KANE 22

This Scania truck is presently being used to test wireless inductive electric charging from roads.

This Scania truck is presently being used to test wireless inductive electric charging from roads.

Scania is testing two different charging concepts to electrify its trucks at some point in the future.

The first one is conductive electrical transmission through overhead lines using Siemens eHighway infrastructure.  The second one is wireless charging using 200 kW Bombardier equipment.

Both vehicles have a hybrid powertrain and probably just a small battery pack so that it’s able to drive last small section of a trip without infrastructure support.

“Obtaining electric power from the roadway for vehicle operations offers promising opportunities. A future system of electrified roads has a number of advantages: there is less environmental impact from operation of vehicles, electrified powertrains are more efficient than ordinary internal combustion engines and power can be supplied to the vehicles without needing to use heavy batteries.”

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

Scania’s President and CEO Martin Lundstedt stated:

“Transport plays a vital role in society, moving goods and providing mobility for people. Our sector creates opportunities for wealth and development worldwide. Now our industry’s challenge is to deliver that value sustainably – above all by decoupling transport growth from CO2 emissions.”

Jonas Hofstedt, Senior Vice President, Head of Powertrain Development commented:

“I am convinced that all of our vehicles in the future will more or less use electricity. When it becomes sufficiently profitable for our customers, we will be ready to launch vehicles commercially.”

“We are now finding opportunities to utilise electricity in many different applications. This will be based on brake energy recovery and energy storage. What is pneumatic or hydraulic power today can be electric. We will not be direct dependent on the internal combustion engine running for several critical systems and components.”

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

As it turns out, Scania has been researching vehicle hybridization and electrification since the 1980s. Currently, it seems that Siemens’s eHighway concept, which is testing on Siemens’s two-kilometer track in Gross Dölln outside Berlin, is a little bit closer to commercialization and Scania hopes to use it in Sweden.

“In conductivity, Scania and Siemens are operating trials with electrically powered trucks equipped with a pantograph power collector mounted on the frame behind the cab. The truck receives power from overhead lines similar to trains and trams. With this collaboration, Sweden may become the world’s first country with electrified trucks and roads for commercial use.”

“Initially, tests will be carried out to ensure satisfactory contact between the pantograph unit and the overhead wires. Unlike trolleybuses, the truck can connect and disconnect to the overhead wires while in motion. The pantograph is as wide as the truck, 2.6 metres, to ensure uninterrupted contact with the overhead wires also when the driver adjusts the vehicle’s position in the lane.”

The test truck has been equipped with a 2x1-metre electric power pickup under the truck, a large power collector that receives electric energy.

The test truck has been equipped with a 2×1-metre electric power pickup under the truck, a large power collector that receives electric energy.

In parallel, Scania is testing (in Germany) Bombardier’s wireless charging system from roads.

“The test truck has been equipped with a 2×1-metre electric power pickup under the truck, a large power collector that receives electric energy. Approximately 200 kW power is transferred across an air gap of up to 100 mm between the road and truck. In initial tests, Scania primarily seeks to determine the amount of energy losses and how they vary according the vehicle’s position and distance to the road surface. What is the greatest possible distance between the road and pickup and how much can the vehicle deviate from the road centre without incurring energy losses?”

Scania is now preparing to start full-scale demonstrations on select electrified roads in Sweden where major tender is under way for such a system. Next year, there will be some electrified segments of public roads for us by trucks or buses.

“In Södertälje, 35 kilometres south of Stockholm, where Scania has its Head Office as well as its R&D centre and production facilities, Scania hopes to electrify a major bus route. Five segments totalling 200 metres will be electrified, allowing buses to charge batteries until till next electrified segment.”

The other application for electric roads is in mining where trucks have a fixed route from mine to processing plants and Scania is considering electrifying such routes in Sweden.

“The Swedish Transport Administration, the Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems and the Swedish Energy Agency will provide public funding for these demonstration projects. They have stated that electrified roads can address the growing demand for transport by reducing energy use and the carbon footprint at a reasonable cost in the near future.”

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22 Comments on "Scania Testing Electric Big Rig Truck With Conductive And Wireless Charging Capability (w/video)"

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Wireless FTW

A hybrid diesel and electric system would be great. Many cities already have such wiring for their local buses/trains. Allow trucks driving into the city to use those systems on metered basis. This way:
1) The trucks drive cheaper around the city.
2) Trucks emit less pollution in the city (who loves diesel exhaust?).
3) The city gets a bonus income stream from the trucks using the service.

Win, win, win.

The big advantage of inductive charging over using a pantograph is that the latter can only be used by trucks and buses, whereas wireless charging could power cars too, although of course the pick up pads would be different, and the charging requirements, so that powering both from the same system would be non-trivial.

200kw is some serious juice, and AFAIK is the highest transfer rate yet attempted.

Its inherently more efficient to not lug around too much battery weight, so fingers crossed!

Also there are no wear parts with inductive charging. What’s the top speed of that metal rubbing on that wire? Remember the recent ice storm that knocked out power all over the mid-west because of downed lines?

The TGV uses pantographs. Top speed will not be an issue.

But it’s still a wear surface.

90 kmh according to siemens website.

Inductive has other advantages too, e.g. fast vehicles can overtake slow ones

Anyone remember the old electric buses?
They ran on wheels rather than trolley rails, but they used the overhead lines.
Best example I could find:

Still used in Seattle and many other cities

Yeah, this was right around the time when GM was systematically secretly buying up all the electrically powered transit systems (No Smog from electrically powered trams) and shutting them down.

Hopefully GM will never do anything as nefarious again.

Having overhead lines everywhere would kill the oversized load trucking industry and be a visual blight.

Bombarider? You meant Bombardier, right?

Right. Thanks.

This system will turn out to be more expensive than hydrogen fuel cells.
Not to mention the deadly dangerous of all this poles on the side of an Autobahn….

“Not to mention the deadly dangerous of all this poles on the side of an Autobahn….”

Motorways everywhere are line with lighting poles, traffic signs, portals for signaling, viaducts, you name it. Placed behind the guard rail, no problem.

But yeah, there are always the alarmists…

Autobahn don’t have lightening and sign poles are not every 50 m.

Electric big-rig trucks are a non-starter. It’s like making an EV Hummer, even with all the aero foils and under-trailer spoilers you want.

10,000-ton capacity steel rail trains has such a huge energy efficiency advantage over 30-ton capacity rubber-on-concrete trucks that in the long term, long-haul big-rig trucking will fade away, relegated to short-haul distribution from rail-heads to final destinations. Rail gets 500 miles/ton/gallon. Trucks get less than 150.

http://www.csx.com/index.cfm/about-csx/projects-and-partnerships/fuel-efficiency/

I believe the US rail business will eventually add overhead or 3rd rail conductive power where viable and power their existing diesel-electric series-hybrid engines directly with electricity, perhaps adding batteries to recover/store regen braking energy or back-feeding power back into the grid.

@Steve I did not know there were that many trolley bus systems still active. I looked up and found this:”Seattle is among only six cities in the U.S. and Canada with electric trolley buses.”
That’s not very many as 90% of systems have disappeared.
Thanks for the information though.

The list:
Boston, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Silver Line Waterfront service
Cambridge, Massachusetts: Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority; see Boston-area trackless trolleys
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: SEPTA; see Trolleybuses in Philadelphia
San Francisco, California: San Francisco Muni
Seattle, Washington: King County Metro
Dayton, Ohio: Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority

It is surprising that traditional car companies just still tries to keep up the myth that batteries are heavy. Tesla has already debunked this myth, because Tesla batteries are very lightweight.

And although Tesla does not tell what is its battery cost, it is reasonable to assume, that Tesla batteries are not that particular expensive either.

It seems like it could become very costly and inconvenient to use the overhead wiring for an electric big rig.