An experimental new road design project in Los Angeles, dubbed the eHighway, is being built for a portion of the busy Alameda Corridor, between the ports of L.A. and Long Beach.
Siemens has been selected by the South Coast Air Quality Management District(SCAQMD) to install a one-mile stretch of the eHighway system, which consists of the electrification of select highway lanes via a catenary system. It’ll work by supplying diesel-hybrid and battery-electric trucks with electric power via automated current-transfer devices called pantographs, similar to how modern day trolleys or streetcars are powered on many city streets.
The company says the system will reduce fuel consumption, substantially reduce CO2emissions, and lower operating costs. Siemens and the Volvo Group, via its subsidiary Mack Trucks brand, are developing a demonstration vehicle for the project.
Construction is already underway, and officials expect the two-way, one-mile system to be operational by July 2015. SCAQMD will then conduct a yearlong test of the system using up to four different trucks, each with a different engine type and fuel source, according to local media reports.
“The logic of the eHighway system is very compelling for cities like LA, where many trucks travel a concentrated and relatively short distance. Highly travelled corridors such as this are where we will initially see eHighway being applied,” says Matthias Schlelein, president of Siemens’ mobility and logistics division in the U.S.
Siemens has already been testing a prototype of this overhead system at one of its German facilities.
Stakeholders are hoping to eventually expand the system along the remaining three miles from the ports to the major railhead, and there are discussions underway about a 20-mile northwest corridor that could connect the ports with inland warehouse complexes.