eHighway electric lines to power hybrid trucks in LA
eHighway electric lines to power hybrid trucks in LA eHighway electric lines to power hybrid trucks in LA
may 15, 2012

eHighway electric lines to power hybrid trucks in LA

the ‘eHighway’ system by siemens would switch trucks (HGVs) into electric mode along heavily traveled stretches of road, eliminating noise and CO2 pollution

the ‘eHighway’ system designed by siemens corporation combines hybrid trucks and overhead electrical wires to eliminate fuel and noise emissions on heavily traveled stretches of highway or urban routes. already in road trials in germany, the technology will be tested next in los angeles and long beach, california, after having been unveiled at the electric vehicle symposium 2012.

the infrastructure foundation of ‘eHighway’ is a series of overhead wires that would be installed over at least one travel lane of a highway, similar to the electrical wires of tram lines and electric streetcars. specially equipped hybrid trucks would automatically (or manually) connect to these lines via pantographs along their roofs. when connected, the truck runs exclusively on electrical power, switching seamlessly to diesel upon disconnection (for passing, swerving, exiting, or other situations). when the truck brakes, energy can be recuperated from the kinetic motion and fed back into the grid for usage by other connected vehicles.

the pantograph used in the system has been custom designed by siemens to precisely monitor the connection between the unit and the wires, letting vehicles stay attached despite ordinary horizontal shifts in steering. drivers can attach and detach from the lines either manually or automatically (demo trucks feature a touchscreen console for control), the latter accomplished by onboard software.

overview and demo of the ‘eHighway’ system

throughout the industrialized world, trucks (or HGVs, heavy goods vehicles) are responsible for a large amount of pollution; and some estimates suggest that road traffic will double by 2050. ‘eHighway’ is intended to reduce this problem on short but heavily traveled segments of road: for example on highway routes between ports or mines and cargo centers, or within cities.

in addition to the upcoming trials in the USA, siemens plans to partner with truck manufacturers to integrate the pantograph and engine system and software of ‘eHighway’ into both new and existing vehicles.

concept animation and description of the system

connection of the pantograph to the wires can be accomplished and maintained automatically

the pantograph

detail view; the specially designed pantograph monitors precisely its connection relative to the wire

concept diagram of the system’s use in highways

concept diagram of the internal mechanics of the hybrid truck system

  • Electric busses are very common in São Paulo, they are called trólebus and apparently use a similar system, without the diesel engine.

    Marco says:
  • Fail. Impractical in areas where ice can accumulate and bring wires down – especially on roadways shared with other vehicles. Leave the overhead wires and pantographs to the trains.

    Rob3rt says:
  • This sooo Old, in Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania…) they have this system since the 60’s!!!!!
    And no one will built such an important infrastructure today, since hybrid is getting better.

    Robert I. says:
  • @Erik @Marco @Rob3rt @Rober I.

    Ummm… Clearly this isn’t a new invention. Of course it is an adaptation of electric trolleys and busses used all over the world.

    The point is that this system can power large cargo trucks traveling at highway speeds.

    Dooogie says:
  • Whats important to note is that this is a proposed retrofit to existing Equipment, which in turn allows for more commercial vehicles to support it. Plus it does not depend on the driver to manage the connections to the wire, thats all done automatically for the best efficiency.

    Kameron says:
  • Barbaric. Just use witricity.

    David Filmore says:
  • Thank you, Dooogie!
    Being born and raised in LA (a city in which urban planning was truly orchestrated after the birth of the car), my poor, smog-filled lungs are behind this implementation of time-tested electric vehicle technology 100%. Also, Rob3rt, this concept is being set in motion in southern California. I don’t know if you’ve ever visited, but, this region does not have traffic come to a screeching halt due to ice accumulating… because it is actually quite hot here… this particular criticism actually wouldn’t affect functioning of this innovation in this instance.

    SVN says:
  • So would this increased electrical demand put CA back to rolling blackouts and brownouts of the early 2000’s?

    mark says:
  • I think this project has one problem.
    electric trucks can not change their line in highway.

    Mohammad karimi says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

technology news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
491,989 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample