Page 15 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - October 2021
P. 15

   W ith the government setting a deadline of
2040 for banning the sale of new diesel and petrol engine trucks in
the UK, the quest to find a viable way to provide long-distance haulage has gained more urgency.
While haulage in urban areas seems to be leaning towards battery electric power currently, where a range of about 150 miles is more than adequate for
a day’s work, this is not an option for long-distance operators.
So in July, as part of the government's Transport Decarbonisation Plan,
the Department for Transport (DfT) announced a £20 million plan to trial various zero emission road freight options, including battery electric trucks, hydrogen powered trucks and an electric road system (ERS).
The trial of the ERS will be the first of
its type to take place in the UK, the aim being to demonstrate to readiness of the technology for a national roll-out. The DfT awarded funding for this to a consortium including Scania, Siemens Mobility, Costain, The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (Cambridge University and Heriot- Watt University) (CSRF), ARUP, Milne Research, SPL Powerlines, CI Planning, BOX ENERGI and Possible.
Funding for the consortium was awarded by the DfT through Innovate UK, which
is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
The consortium has proposed an ERS using the Siemens Mobility ‘eHighway’ technology, as the fastest, lowest
carbon and most cost-effective route to decarbonising the road freight industry and delivering cleaner air.
A nine-month feasibility study is under way, and it is hoped to be the forerunner of a scheme that aims to see the UK’s major roads served by overhead lines by the 2030s. ERSs allow specially adapted trucks to use a pantograph on the roof to attach to overhead catenary cables and run using the electricity from them, similar to how rail and trolley-bus systems work. The trucks come equipped with a battery that charges while they are in motion so they can detach to overtake vehicles and reach their destination with zero emissions from start to finish.
There have been previous studies, notably in Sweden and Germany, of Siemens Mobility’s eHighway technology, which have shown that the overhead technology is reliable and resilient. Another field trial, involving the 3.4-kilometre B462 federal highway between Kuppenheim and Gaggenau, commenced in June.
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