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.