Friday, August 8, 2014

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California gives Siemens' e-highways program the green light

Siemens recently received approval from California officials to test its e-highway concept near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The Southern California ports are plagued with heavy smog, and need solutions that will let them establish a "zero emission corridor."

The German corporation said it will fit a section of highway with overhead cables that can power specially equipped trucks in the same way trams operate. The company is working with Volvo Trucks and its Mack brand to develop a demo vehicle for the project, and local truck integrators will also provide vehicles for the test.

Siemens developed the e-highway especially for heavily used and relatively short truck routes. That suits the requirements of Los Angeles and Long Beach, which use a section of highway that sees about 35,000 truck journeys per day. Most of that traffic transports goods from the ports to inland rail trans-shipment centers 18.5 miles away.

The one-year project will begin July 2015. Four trucks will drive the route during the test period. These e-trucks will have a hybrid drive system and intelligent current collectors.

On roads that lack overhead cables, they will use an electric drive system that can be powered by various energy sources. The e-highway system allows vehicles to overtake and dock and undock from the highway at speeds of up to 55 mph.

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