Making a truck more like an electric train: the eHighway pilot

Been a while since the last Tom Scott video I shared, but this one is about transport, the environment and how to fill a gap in future government tax revenues. So here is his on the eHighway system from Siemens, which according to the blurb combines the efficiency of electrified railroads with the flexibility of trucks:

Altogether now, “Isn’t that a trolley bus like there used to be in my/my parents youth?”

There are plans to run a similar pilot in the UK.

9 responses to “Making a truck more like an electric train: the eHighway pilot”

  1. If that truck swerves to avoid an accident and parts from the power cables, who’s going to push it back? The old trolley buses quite often lost contact too, but they didn’t go very fast or far out of reach of power, so a man with a long pole could usually hoick the connectors back on to the power cables. That lorry looks to be on an Autobahn, probably doing 80+ km/hr; a very different kettle of fish.

  2. I am not entirely convinced that this is cost efficient overall. For trucks, hydrogen fuel cells may offer a better solution. However, there may be a combination, with overhead wires for the busiest routes. There is, also, a visual element to consider.

  3. Putting solar panels on the roof will also help provide power for when the trucks are off grid. There are a lot of good ideas out there that will enable us to move to renewable very quickly. It only needs political imagination, planning and will; all sadly lacking with the current stand-up comedians calling themselves “The Government”.

  4. Re the Tom Scott video. Yes it’s brilliant (yes, it is like a trolleybus). However, rail-based systems don’t produce particulates and other pollutants from ground contact; tyre-on-tarmac systems do. So it isn’t perfect, there may be a role for it, AND the thinking needs to keep evolving to include improvements and cheapening of rail-freight – which the UK government appears to have forgotten about completely.

  5. This kind of solution will work well for the bulk road transport industry. The technology is way more advanced than when trolley buses trundled around some city streets, so no issues of changing lanes etc. Trucks will have other ways to propel them where there are no power lines of course.

    Talk to haulage leaders and they are clear that pure electric trucks would require huge batteries and an even bigger charging infrastructure, and they are clear it won’t work on its own (what kind of power supply would we need to deliver to truck parking places??)

    What is needed is another solution. Today there are two, hydrogen fuel cells and charging on the move.
    Overhead cables provides a key solution to how we recharge all the batteries for transport that uses trunk roads, at a cost level that works all round.

    What is missing is a standard. If there can be a European standard say (or even better a global one) then costs can come down and rollout can happen. The way there is for authorities to commit to work together to agree one.

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