E-truck test route in Germany [image credit: transport-online.de]

Another one from the Department of Bad Ideas? Before they rush into anything, they might want to note the assessment of a writer for Mass Transit magazine 10 years ago, on the subject of overhead (catenary) lines. Here’s the opening paragraph in full: ‘They are expensive. They are dangerous. They are unsightly.’

Much more here, but let’s quote a few other comments:
‘Overhead lines require a lot of maintenance given the direct contact of the pantographs and their constant exposure to weather’
‘Winter storms play havoc with overhead wire systems’
‘Loose wires in the summer and wire breaks in the winter as a result of lines contracting and expanding with the temperature also create maintenance headaches’
‘A catenary line is a live wire suspended in the air. Weather issues therefore become serious safety concerns.’

Did somebody mention climate change as a reason for the road experiment?


– – –
The government will fund the design of a scheme to install overhead electric cables to power electric lorries on a motorway near Scunthorpe, as part of a series of studies on how to decarbonise road freight, reports The Guardian.

The electric road system – or e-highway – study, backed with £2m of funding, will draw up plans to install overhead cables on a 20km (12.4 miles) stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, in Lincolnshire.

If the designs are accepted and building work is funded the trucks could be on the road by 2024.

Road freight is one of the hardest parts of the economy to decarbonise, because no technology exists yet on a large scale that is capable of powering long-haul lorries with zero direct exhaust emissions.

New diesel and petrol lorries will be banned in Britain by 2040 as part of plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. That has given lorry companies little time to develop and commercialise technology that will be crucial to the functioning of the economy.

While cars can rely on lithium ion batteries, the weight of a battery required to power a fully laden truck over long distances has prompted trucking companies to look for alternatives.

The e-highway study is one of several options that will be funded, along with a study of hydrogen fuel cell trucks and battery electric lorries, the Department for Transport said on Tuesday.

On the e-highway, lorries fitted with rigs called pantographs – similar to those used by trains and trams – would be able to tap into the electricity supply to power electric motors.

Lorries would also have a smaller battery to power them over the first and last legs of the journey off the motorway.

Full report here.

Siemens and Scania have already tested their e-highway systems in Germany, Sweden and the US. Photograph: Siemens

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

https://ift.tt/37bdIJe

July 28, 2021