One of the Scania electric trucks that will operate on the German eHighway test routes. Picture: SCANIA
One of the Scania electric trucks that will operate on the German eHighway test routes. Picture: SCANIA

Many countries around the world continue to invest in technology and infrastructure for future transport solutions.

While Germany might be the centre of the emissions cheating scandal involving the Volkswagen Group and others, the German government is also exploring a number of transportation opportunities.

Recently it decided to co-finance a research project to test and develop electric road technology for eHighways.

Volkswagen Group Research together with Siemens will develop technology and electric hybrid long-haulage trucks supplied by Scania for the German eHighway research project. This research is a pre-phase before the start-up of three different test areas on German public roads, with electric power supplied from overhead lines.

The project, Trucks for German eHighways, aims to reduce carbon emissions from long-haul heavy-duty commercial vehicles. During 2019 and 2020 electrically-powered trucks are to be tested on three new German eHighways. The project is co-financed by the German government through BMUB, the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

"For long-haulage transport, Scania sees electric roads as one promising technology for a sustainable transport future. 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," Scania executive vice-president research and development Claes Erixon says.

The research project is being managed by Volkswagen Group Research, which will contribute with resources and knowledge regarding vehicle electrification for passenger cars, and investigate research synergies for the electrification of heavy commercial vehicles. In the first phase, Scania will supply two electric hybrid long-haulage prototype trucks with different powertrains: one will have a single battery with a 15kWh capacity, the other with several batteries for greater capacity.

Similar to Scania’s trials of electric hybrid trucks on an electric road in Sweden, the world’s first public road test of this technology, the German tests will see Scania trucks equipped with a pantograph power collector developed by Siemens mounted on the frame behind the cab.

"Scania will enter this new project with all our experience from the Swedish project. In the German project, the most important research areas will be to analyse and optimise the powertrain concept, energy management, the hybrid transmission, battery ageing and the next generation cooling system," says Christer Thorén, project manager for electric road technology at Scania.

As part of the company’s goal to drive the shift towards a sustainable transport system, it is working on several projects aimed at accelerating electrification technology progress for both urban and long-haulage transport. Scania is also participating in a Swedish-German government innovation initiative on mobility and electrical roads.

Partnership projects such as "Trucks for German eHighways" are further proof of this approach to innovation. Scania says it believes it can help find the shortest distance and time to a sustainable transport system.