Germany tests eHighways for freight traffic

Germany’s first electric highway (eHighway) for road freight traffic has opened in the federal state of Hesse.

On the test stretch, 5 km of overhead power lines have been installed along the right lane of the highway in both directions, according to the ministry.

The trucks driving on the eHighway test stretch are equipped with electric and diesel engines as well as batteries that could be quickly recharged via the installed overhead lines, the ministry said.

The test stretch  is part of the ELISA project (short for electrified, innovative heavy traffic on the Autobahn), and is being coordinated and operated by Hessen Mobil, the federal state’s road transport authority.

By 2022, five trucking companies are planning to participate in the field test in Hesse to see whether the overhead line technology is suitable and whether it can be used to transport goods on German roads “in a climate-friendly manner,” according to the ministry.

“The special feature of the Hessian test field is to integrate climate-friendly technologies into the system network of cooperative automated traffic,” said Gerd Riegelhuth, president of Hesse’s road transport authority.

The German environment ministry said that it had already set aside over 70 million euros to develop the hybrid trucks powered via overhead lines.

The construction of the test stretch in Hesse had been financed with 14.6 million euros, and a further 15.3 million euros would become available for carrying out the field test until the end of 2022, the ministry noted.