Siemens Electrified Truck Pilot Program Slated For US

In Los Angeles, at the Electric Vehicle Symposium 26 this week, the giant German electronics and engineering firm Siemens, announced that it is putting together pilot projects for the electrification of truck traffic in the U.S.

Said programs are being planned for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to be connected to cargo centers, with electrically operated vehicles using overhead wires and poles or pantographs, similar to trolley buses and street cars.

The pilot projects follow on from testing already being conducted by Siemens in Germany, in which the company has developed a support infrastructure, including hardware, software and drives. These are designed to compliment the company’s own line of hybrid drive systems designed for commercial vehicle applications.

According to Daryl Dulaney, CEO Siemens Infrastructure and Cities, United States, freight transportation represents the single biggest source of vehicle emissions. “When people think of emissions, they assume cars do most of the damage but it’s actually commercial trucks that are largely to blame,” he said. Dulaney also stated that “freight transportation on U.S. roadways is expected to double by 2050, while global oil resources continue to deplete.”

According to Siemens, the electrification system is designed for diesel/hybrid trucks, which use onboard software to connect with overhead wires. The trucks can run on diesel power but are able to switch automatically to electric propulsion when overhead wires are detected. This contrasts from traditional trolley trucks, which were pure electric vehicles only.

Besides ports to cargo centers, Siemens says the technology can also be applied to dense urban centers, which would have a significant impact on reducing pollution and fuel consumption. At present, big cities represent significant pollution hotspots, considering the amount of stop and go driving and idling, conventional internal combustion-powered delivery trucks endure on a daily basis.

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  • Max Reid

    Excellent System. Electricity costs 1/4 as much as Diesel. Trucks, Buses, Vans and even cars can make use of system. Wherever Traction lines are there, the vehicle can run on the electricity and also charge their batteries. This can easily be implemented in island nations, since they are smaller and the cost of traction will cost less. Slowly it can be expanded to other countries.

    Infact every 50 miles there should be traction for 5 miles which could charge the batteries quickly.

  • FamilyGuy

    Nice idea, but really? The roads are in terrible condition, the bridges are in bad shape. And the idea is to add another level of infrastructure?

    The next big storm could hold up freight transportation. It’s one thing to remove fallen trees from a road. It’s a whole another thing to remove fallen trees and repair power lines. I live in the Northeast and we lost power for four days in August after the hurricane and four days after the Halloween Nor’easter. Power lines on the highway? One lane, two lanes?

    If someone really wants to push this idea, bring back the train! Just think of all of the traffic that you could get off of the roads. There are so many abandoned railroad lines around here.

  • TedPass

    Great alternative to diesel and a an example of how clever ideas that pretty much rehash existing solutions can contribute to massive changes. Fingers crossed!
    My only regret: why are we handing this over to Germans?

  • AP

    Overhead wires? Really? That should be picturesque.