Seattle began running its first electric trolleybus on 28 April 1940.
Now -- 75 years later -- the first electric trucks powered by overhead cables. Siemens will install an e-highway system for test purposes close to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach -- the largest in the USA.
Siemens' e-highway electrifies selected traffic lanes using an overhead cable system. As a result, trucks can be supplied with electricity in the same way as trams.
Working with the Volvo Group and its Mack brand, Siemens is developing a demonstration vehicle for the project. Siemens is also working with local truck integrators in California.
The overhead cable infrastructure will be installed in two directions in Carson (California) near Los Angeles with the test concluding in July 2016.
During the test phase, up to four trucks will travel up and down the route every day. The "e-trucks" are equipped with a hybrid drive system and intelligent current collectors.
On roads without overhead cables, the vehicles use an electric drive system which can be powered by diesel, compressed natural gas, a battery or with other energy sources.
The current collector allows the vehicles to overtake and automatically dock and undock at speeds of up to 60 miles per hour.
The e-highway concept is well-suited from an environmental and economic point of view on heavily used and relatively short truck routes.
Around 35,000 shuttle truck journeys currently take place every day on the I-70 route where the test is being conducted.