In the latest turn of transportation there is now an eco-friendly solution to highways. Over in the Scandinavian country of Sweden you can drive on the first ever electric highway. Discover the perks of this public e-road as you peer into the future where electric highways could be all the rage. The big question for truckers is how will electric highways effect the trucking industry?
Battery Powered Highways
The Swedish headquartered truck manufacturer Scania is in cahoots with electric powerhouse Siemens for electric highways. These two businesses have launched the world’s first electric highway system. It opened to the public in June 2016. However, it will be in testing for the next two years. Located in Sweden, this road system works much differently than the roads we have here in the US:
- Trucks that are hybrid electric-gas drive along the 1.25-mile (2-km) expanse.
- This part of the eHighway is located on the E16 highway in the northern part of Stockholm, Sweden.
- During this trial period the road will test two diesel hybrid trucks built by Scania to see how well they charge and handle on the new system.
- This trial will determine if the Transportation Administration in Sweden will be using this system throughout the country, as well as if they will choose to ‘sell’ it to other countries.
At the same time, Sweden isn’t the only country shooting forward with electric highway systems. Here in the US in California Siemens is currently working on making an electric highway system. This will eventually become a two-mile length of highway featuring an overhead contact line. Think, trolley car but with heavy duty trucks instead of passenger hauling carts. This system will be installed at the US port cities of LA and Long Beach.
Benefits of an Electric Highway
An electric highway will solve the problem of charging hybrid and electric vehicles. These vehicles are geared at reducing our use and dependence on fossil fuels, aka gas, diesel and oil. More specifically, an electric highway is aimed at cutting back the amount of diesel emissions of big rigs.
Sweden is already ahead of the curve with going green, and this electric highway plan follows that line of thinking. In Sweden, however, emissions from transportation, most specifically freight transport, make up one-third of the total emissions in the country. To cut out these emissions with the use of electric highways and hybrid diesel trucks would help Sweden secure the top spot for most eco-friendly country.
Benefits for Truck Drivers
Why is this such a big deal for truckers? These diesel emissions aren’t just harming the environment. Diesel truck drivers are at the greatest risk for respiratory conditions including breathing problems and lung cancer due to their close proximity to diesel emissions. After all, when you are driving a big rig you are right there in the diesel emission environment.
When you stop to fuel, there again more diesel pollution in your breathing space. Stopping at loading docks and ports, not to mention idling when parked overnight, are all directly related to diesel emissions. If you could protect your lungs and breathe easier, you’d want to, right? That’s a direct benefit of hybrid trucks and electric highways, an immediate reduction in your daily exposure to diesel emissions.
In our lifetime there will continue to be a strong push toward hybrid and electric trucks to reduce the cost and use of fossil fuels. While electric charging stations at truck stops are one solution for powering up big trucks that run off electricity, the use of an eHighway system is even more efficient. Imagine not having to pull over to fuel up at a truck stop. No more waiting in long lines at the pumps. No more dealing with dumb truckers who go in for showers and sit-down meals while parked in the fuel aisles. No more losing time trying to find the best prices on diesel fuel so you can keep your bottom line in the black. With an electric highway system you charge up while you keep rolling. This is the way of the future for electric trucks.