Overhead lines are solution for long distance electric trucks say researchers

June 22, 2016 // By Nick Flaherty
Siemens trials of overhead charging for long distance trucks
Using overhead power lines to recharge long distance electric trucks would be a cost effective solution to battery life challenges says a leading market research firm.

“We believe that there is an excellent solution being proved for the long distance battery vehicle, starting with trucks,” said Dr Peter Harrop, Chairman of Cambridge UK-based  market research firm IDTechEx. “A new dynamic charging approach was presented at EVS29 Canada by Patrik Akerman of Siemens. Dynamic charging is a term most often applied to coils in the road that charge the vehicle as it goes along but, as he pointed out, this has severe difficulties with roads wearing out early, safety and damage from vehicles and roadworks. Height variations, snow, dirt, cost and other problems have been cited by others. Following a study, Siemens has decided not to work on this. Instead, Akerman favours the elegant, affordable solution of intermittent overhead catenary at a mere €2.2 million per kilometre for charging trucks on the move which means that they can still overtake."

The whole of Germany could be served in this way with only 400 km of catenary, says Harrop. "The German authorities find it feasible and desirable and there are trials now in several other countries. Cost is a fraction of fuel cell and other alternatives: installation is easy and the battery does not expand to an unwieldy 400kWh,” he added.

Siemens is already running trials of the system in Sweden and California.

Industrial and Commercial Electric Vehicles on Land 2016-2026 , IDTechX