Friday, September 20, 2013

Trolleybus System Converted for Road Haulage Use as Swedish Groups Prepare HGV's

Old Technology Given New Lease of Life by Collaboration
Shipping News Feature

SWEDEN – GERMANY – WORLDWIDE – In a nod to days some would have thought bygone, Scania and Siemens are now preparing trials with an electrically powered truck equipped with a pantograph power collector mounted on the frame behind the cab. The truck receives power from overhead lines similar to trains, trams and trolleybuses and the partners say, if successful, Sweden could become the first country in the world with electrically powered commercial heavy goods vehicles for the carriage of freight.

Trials with Scania’s truck will soon start at Siemens’s two-kilometre long test track and the first test truck has now been prepared in Södertälje, Stockholm, before leaving for Germany where the pantograph will be mounted. When work is completed, the installed pantograph will be tested before returning to Södertälje where the electric powertrain system will be installed at Scania’s Research and Development centre. The truck with the power electrification system as a whole will then ready for a full evaluation and track test. Scania’s Project Manager Christer Thorén, commented:

“Systems with overhead lines are especially suitable in regular transport routes from point to point, such as between steel mills and ports and between mines and processing plants.”

The project opens opportunities for full-scale demonstrations of electrified road sections in Sweden. The partners say that the ‘new’ technology can provide substantial fuel savings and a means to achieve fossil-free road transport. The project is part of Scania’s ongoing policy which the company says continuously seeks to reduce the environmental impact of heavy transport.

As is recognised globally, the development of electrically powered vehicles is certain to be a vital part of the transition to a more sustainable transport system. Scania believes its technology, with a hybrid powertrain combining both electric and combustion engines, can be supplemented by power transfer from overhead lines and on these routes, vehicles can thereby operate exclusively on electricity.

Initially, tests will be carried out to ensure satisfactory contact between the pantograph unit and the overhead wires. Unlike trolleybuses, the truck can connect with the overhead wire while in motion. The pantograph is as wide as the truck, 2.6 metres, to ensure uninterrupted contact with the overhead wire also when the road curves. Tests of the system in its entirety will start during spring 2014.

Photo: A mock-up of a truck suitably equipped with the overhead pantograph power collector fitted.