Los Angeles, CA – Next summer, Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) will begin a pilot ‘e-Highway’ system near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.
The first of its kind in the US, the $13.5 million highway project to be built starting in early 2015 will consist of a two-way, 1-mile overhead electric catenary system along a major thoroughfare that runs between both mega-ports.
A catenary system consists of overhead wires that vehicles pass under to receive electrical charges using a pantograph, a contraption mounted on the roof of the vehicle to collect the electrical charges. They are most commonly used by trolleys and streetcars.
The e-Highway concept applies the catenary system to trucks, allowing them to collect electrical power with a pantograph that unfolds from the roof of a truck. After passing under the catenary system, trucks can switch to diesel, compressed natural gas, battery or another on-board energy source.
Up to four demonstration trucks — both battery-electric and hybrid types — will reportedly be used. Trucks on the ‘e-Highway’ will be able to travel at speeds up to 60 mph.
Germany-based global engineering company Siemens will build the catenary system as well as the “current collectors,” which would allow trucks at any speed to link and unlink from the ‘e-Highway.’
According to the AQMD, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach “are an optimal location for this kind of system because of the high concentration of diesel-powered trucks traveling relatively short distances between the ports and intermodal transfer facilities or distribution warehouses.
AQMD officials hope the demonstration “will lead to a reduction of fossil fuel and toxic air emissions, as well as save on transportation costs.”