While most of the world relies on trucks for freight transport, the lumbering, gas-guzzling vehicles aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. That's why Sweden is launching a program to help trucks go green, as part of a larger initiative to eliminate their fossil fuel dependence by 2030. Forbes reports that Sweden is developing an electric highway—or eHighway—that lets specially-made hybrid trucks run on electricity.
The eHighway is currently being tested on an about 1-mile stretch of highway in Sweden. It allows hybrid trucks to connect to an overhead electricity system called a catenary, which is similar to the electric wire systems used by many trolleys and trains in the United States. Unlike trolleys, however, truckers can connect and disconnect their vehicle from the catenary at will, allowing them to change lanes, adjust speed, and drive on highways that aren’t equipped with the catenary yet.
The eHighway system was developed by the Swedish company Scania and Germany company Siemens. So far, they have built two diesel hybrid trucks to test out the eHighway during a two-year trial period. They have also announced plans to try out the eHighway in the United States, and recently began installing a two-mile trial eHighway near Los Angeles.
According to Anders Berndtsson of the Swedish Transport Administration, the eHighway will allow Sweden to cut down on fossil fuels without drastically changing its infrastructure.
“By far the greatest part of the goods transported in Sweden goes on the road, but only a limited part of the goods can be moved to other traffic types,” Berndtsson told Forbes. “That is why we must free the trucks from their dependence on fossil fuels, so that they can be of use also in the future. Electric roads offer this possibility and are an excellent complement to the transport system.”
In the video below, Siemens outlines how the eHighway system unites new and existing technologies to create a novel strategy for cutting down on pollution, explaining, “The eHighway system combines the advantages of electrified railways with the flexibility of truck transport.”