'E-highways' could slash UK road freight emissions, says study

July 28, 2020

The Guardian has reported that a study into whether trucks could adopt the technology that has allowed the electrification of large parts of the rail network has shown that road freight emissions in the UK could be drastically reduced within 15 years.

Siemens and Scania have already tested their eHighway systems in Germany, Sweden and the US. Photograph: Siemens


The UK could eliminate the majority of the carbon dioxide emissions from road freight by installing overhead charging cables for electric lorries on “e-highways” across the country, a report by government-funded academics suggests.


The plan for a so-called electric road system would cost £19.3bn and put all but the most remote parts of the UK within reach of the trucks by the late 2030s, with the potential for the investment to pay for itself within 15 years, according to the report by the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight.


The centre is backed by government research grants and industry partners including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis.


While electric delivery vehicles are increasingly used in urban environments, truck manufacturers have so far been unable to develop a electric batteries with enough energy storage for trucks to run for long distances.


However, the interesting alternative, being tested in Germany and Sweden, is to electrify the roads themselves.


Catenary cables, powered by the national electricity grid, would link to lorries driving in the inside lanes on 4,300 miles (7,000km) of UK roads through an extendable rig known as a pantograph – similar to those on the top of electric trains.


The electricity would power the lorry’s electric motor, as well as recharging an onboard battery that would power them to destinations beyond the electrified roads.


Source: The Loadstar


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