Field trial begins in 2019 Charging lane for e-trucks is making headway

Field trial begins in 2019 Charging lane for e-trucks is making headway

Field trial begins in 2019 Charging lane for e-trucks is making headway

The construction of the first German test track for e-trucks with overhead lines in the Rhine-Main area is progressing rapidly: the busy Autobahn 5 between and Frankfurt already has around 230 masts for trucks with pantographs. Outriggers for the contact wires of the overhead line are only missing towards the south. “We are completely on schedule,” says project coordinator Achim Reusswig from the Hessen mobile transport authority. At the end of November, the system is expected to be operational for the five-kilometer test route in each direction.

The field trial is scheduled to begin at the beginning of 2019 and will help to achieve the Federal Republic’s climate protection goals. In and it takes a little longer.

Construction work on Autobahn 1 in Schleswig-Holstein is planned for October 2018 to the end of May 2019. The starting shot for the pilot route has officially been given. An overhead line for heavy trucks is to be built for five kilometers in each direction between Reinfeld and the Lübeck motorway junction. A shipping company in Reinfeld will then test the route with a hybrid truck.

The battery trucks are coming
Mercedes-Benz Urban eTruck Source: Daimler
The electric truck from Daimler's US brand Freightliner during its presentation and test drive on US Highway 15 three years ago.  Source: dpa
Tesla Semi Truck Quelle: Tesla
Mercedes-Benz eTruck Source: Daimler
In the first quarter of 2018, the competition will bring an electric truck fleet onto the road: together with nine Austrian logisticians, truck manufacturer MAN is testing the use of electric distribution trucks in everyday life.  The vehicles of the TGM series have a 250 kW electric motor and are also used in city logistics with an electric range of 200 kilometers.  MAN has announced that it will be launching a small series of further e-trucks from the end of 2018, and large series production is planned for 2021.
Scania catenary truck Source: Scania
Siemens overhead line Source: Siemens press photo

For the third test route in Baden-Württemberg, the federal highway 462 (Rastatt-Rottweil), however, the planning is still ongoing. The route should be around six kilometers long in both directions. The construction contracts for this are to be awarded this year and the overhead lines will then be set up in 2019, according to the state government. More than 500,000 tons of paper and cardboard are transported on the route every year. As part of the “eWayBW” project, overhead line trucks would then travel 250,000 kilometers a year with this load, so that those responsible can expect reliable results.

The test track has two other advantages: residents regularly complain about the noise of the trucks. When using electric trucks, noise and pollution could be well investigated. A comparison with freight traffic would also be possible, because the section runs parallel to a railway line.

The car manufacturer wants to participate in the project in its own way and develop a purely battery-powered tractor unit with a range of up to 200 kilometers by 2020. You should then make a comparison with the overhead line trucks.

The Federal Environment Ministry is funding the three field tests until 2019 with a total of 45.3 million euros. The project in Schleswig-Holstein will be topped up again by 5.1 million euros and the test operation will be co-financed at all locations from 2019, said a ministry spokesman in Berlin. The overhead line trucks have already been tried out on a non-public test track for several years.

On the A5 between the Langen / Mörfelden and Weiterstadt junctions, the first trucks with electricity from overhead lines are expected to start in 2019. The field trial begins with an introductory phase that will last around the middle of the year, said spokesman Stefan Wagner. builds the test track. In the introductory phase, the operational management should first be tested and freight forwarders and drivers should be familiarized with the technology of the so-called overhead line hybrid trucks. “In this phase, several vehicles are already being used on the route.” From mid-2019, the real operation of freight forwarders will be tested with five vehicles.

The system allows the use of different drive concepts, purely electric, hybrid vehicles with diesel, bio-diesel, gas, batteries or fuel cells, Wagner listed examples. For example, vehicles could charge their batteries while driving.

The trucks recognize the cables above them via sensors while they are in motion and dock without slowing down, explains Reusswig about the “Elisa” system on the A5 in. The pantograph is extended and coupled to the line by applying pressure from below. “It doesn’t have to thread in.” The trucks can also change lanes while driving and undock, said Wagner. Because the system only works on the right of four lanes.

How far the trucks will get after charging with their battery is still unclear, said Reusswig. The field test must show this and it also depends on the weight of the vehicles. The infrastructure on the A5 allows all possible types of trucks and possibly even buses.

“The technology itself works,” says Martin Bulheller from the Federal Association of Goods Transport. Now it has to be tested under real conditions whether it works, if not one, but 10, 20 or 30 trucks drive on the E-routes for months on end.