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Scania Supplies Trucks for VW-Siemens eHighway Project

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【Summary】The electric trucks will be charged by overhead lines, via a pantograph power collector on the back of the cab. This configuration can be compared to systems that power electric trains and traditional metro transportation lines.

Michael Cheng    Jun 03, 2018 8:00 AM PT
Scania Supplies Trucks for VW-Siemens eHighway Project

Scania, a Volkswagen-owned trucking company with production facilities in France, India, Brazil and Russia, has increased its participation in cutting-edge, electrified trucking projects. The business was recently tapped to supply hybrid electric trucks for testing on public roads in Germany.

Under the research project, which is co-financed by the German Government through BMUB, the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Volkswagen Group Research and Siemens are developing an electrified system to support long-haul routes for commercial truck operations.

Testing Long-haulage Prototype Trucks

Scania's role in the German ehighways project is an important one. The truck manufacturer will provide a total of two electric hybrid prototype units. The first truck features one battery with a capacity of 15 kWh, while the second unit is equipped with larger battery packs.

"Scania will enter this new project with all our experience from the Swedish project," explained Christer Thorén, Project Manager for electric road technology at Scania.

"In the German project, the most important research areas will be to analyze and optimize the powertrain concept, energy management, the hybrid transmission, battery ageing and the next generation cooling system."

The electric trucks will be charged by overhead lines, via a pantograph power collector on the back of the cab. Such components were developed by Siemens. When the prototype trucks are connected to the overhead lines, the system will charge the batteries. This allows trucking businesses to save time and increase productivity, while foregoing the need to stop at a charging station.

These days, new designs and upgrades have made pantographs highly efficient. Lightweight, low-noise and weatherproof features ensure protection from crippling weather and rough, outdoor environments. This helps decrease frequent maintenance tasks associated with the system.

This configuration can be compared to systems that power electric trains and traditional metro transportation lines. The use of overhead power supplies has been around for some time, with numerous installations established over 100 years ago. However, its application in large-scale commercial trucking is relatively new.

Electrified Roadway Systems

The "Trucks for German eHighways" project is divided into three phases. The group is currently in the research phase, which tackles the setup of various testing sites on public roads in Germany. This process involves configuring overhead lines used to supply power to the prototypes.

Furthermore, it is at this stage that Scania will supply the hybrid electric trucks. As noted previously, the company is working on a very similar system in Sweden.

"For long-haulage transport, Scania sees electric roads as one promising technology for a sustainable transport future," said Claes Erixon, Executive Vice President Research and Development at Scania.

"Vehicle electrification is developing quickly and with its environmental, social and cost benefits, it will play an important role in the shift to a fossil-free transport system."

Earlier this year, the parties selected the location for the test sites: Schleswig-Holstein (A1 Autobahn close to Lübeck), Hessen (A5 Autobahn south of Frankfurt) and Baden-Württemberg (B462 federal highway). Testing is expected to start in 2019 and finish by 2020.

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