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Italy to start electric road trials; Scania and Siemens; zero-impact eHighway

The A35 Brebemi autostrada in northern Italy will the latest location for road electrification technology, and Scania trucks fitted with Siemens pantographs and power connections are in line to carry out the initial trials.

The trucks receive electricity from a pantograph power collector that is mounted on the frame behind the cab. The pantographs are in turn connected to overhead power lines that are above the right-hand lane of the road, and the trucks can freely connect to and disconnect from the overhead wires while in motion.

When the truck goes outside the electrically-powered lane, the pantograph is disconnected, and the truck is then powered by the combustion engine or the battery-operated electric motor. The same principle applies when the driver wants to overtake another vehicle while on the electrified strip of the road.

To begin, the project will focus on a six-kilometer stretch of the autostrada between its Romano di Lombardia and Calcio exits. The A35 Brebemi connects Brescia, Bergamo and Milan, three of the main cities in Italy’s Lombardy region, and the project leaders’ ultimate goal is to create the first ‘zero impact’ eHighway in Europe, with solar panels along the 62.1km route generating the required electrical power.

The plan for Italy follows similar projects in Sweden and Germany.

The Scania trucks that will run on the A35 Brebemi contain tried and tested hybrid technology that was launched on the market in late 2016. Scania’s cooperation with Siemens builds on two other projects involving the two companies—one in Sweden and one in Germany.

For the past two years the two companies have been testing electrification technology on Sweden’s electric highway on the E16 near Gävle, in partnership with the regional authority. Scania and Siemens are also involved in the “Trucks for German eHighways” research project, in which Volkswagen Group Research and 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 test separate tests on German public roads near Lübeck, Frankfurt and on the B462 road in Baden-Württemberg.

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