San Francisco Bay Area readers, or anyone who has ridden (or driven behind) Muni buses, are more than familiar with the concept of electric-powered commercial vehicles getting energy through a roof-mounted apparatus connected to wires. Now, Sweden-based Scania and German company Siemens are partnering on a similar technology that would be used by commercial trucks on Sweden's highways.

The companies aren't releasing a ton of detail on the subject, only saying that the trucks will have pantographs (i.e., those roof-mounted things) that will let trucks be powered by electricity through nearby wires. That means far less diesel being belched on Sweden's roads. Scania was a sister company of Saab for more than a quarter century before the companies were split in 1995.

"Full-scale demonstration of electrified road sections can quickly become a reality through this partnership," says Henrik Henriksson, Executive Vice President and head of Scania's sales and marketing, in a statement. How quick? We'll hopefully find out soon. In the meantime, you can read Scania's press release below.
Show full PR text
Scania and Siemens to develop electrically powered vehicles

Scania and Siemens have entered into a partnership which involves the integration of Siemens technology to power vehicles with Scania's expertise in the electrification of powertrains in trucks and buses. The partnership means that Sweden may become the world's first country with electrically powered trucks and electrified roads for commercial use.

Scania has for a long time explored the possibilities of electrifying the powertrain in buses and trucks. Siemens has been working with technology, in which vehicles receive power from a wire in the air via a pantograph on the roof. The two companies have now teamed up to develop electrically powered trucks for commercial use.

"Full-scale demonstration of electrified road sections can quickly become a reality through this partnership," says Henrik Henriksson, Executive Vice President and head of Scania's sales and marketing. "Fuel savings made possible by electrification are huge, and this project is a foundation stone for fossil-free road transport."

Scania continuously strives to reduce heavy transport's environmental impact, and the development of electric vehicles will be an important part of the transition to a more sustainable transport system. Scania's powertrain technology with a hybrid powertrain (a combination of electric and internal combustion technology) can be supplemented by electrical transmission through a line in the air (conduction) or powered through the road surface (induction), thus becoming completely electrically powered on electrified road sections.

For further information, please contact Hans-Åke Danielsson, Press Manager, tel. +46 8 553 856 62.

Scania is one of the world's leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, and of industrial and marine engines. Service-related products account for a growing proportion of the company's operations, assuring Scania customers of cost-effective transport solutions and maximum uptime Scania also offers financial services. Employing some 38,600 people, the company operates in about 100 countries. Research and development activities are concentrated in Sweden, while production takes place in Europe and South America, with facilities for global interchange of both components and complete vehicles. In 2012, net sales totalled SEK 79.6 billion and net income amounted to SEK 6.6 billion. Scania press releases are available on www.scania.com (http://www.scania.com/se)


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 18 Comments
      Jesse Gurr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I guess if nobody has tall antenna on their car or truck, it should be fine.
        fairfireman21
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Jesse Gurr
        Even then 13 feet is hard to reach, and the wires are still higher than that. I had a whip many years ago for a CB radio and even when sitting still had no problem and it was mounted on the top hinge of a full size wans back door, when driving it probably drooped back 2-3 feet.
      Chris M
      • 2 Years Ago
      I just thought of an improvement to the design shown in the photograph. Instead of 2 separate wires, use an overhead plastic channel shaped like an upside-down V, with two metal strips on the underside at right angles to each other as the electrical conductors. The single arm pantograph would have a V shaped head with contactors at right angles to collect the power when it was in the channel groove. With an optical pattern of stripes, a camera mounted on the roof and facing up could identify when the vehicle was driving under the electrical channel, and automatically raise the pantograph into the groove - the driver doesn't have to do anything but drive. The pantograph would automatically disconnect and retract when the vehicle is no longer under the power channel. Simple, less visually intrusive, and effective.
        fairfireman21
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Chris M
        That is a good idea, But how would you make it stay together when the wind blows? 2 wires is still the best way. I find a "V" over head would be more visible and distinktive than just 2 wires.
          Chris M
          • 2 Years Ago
          @fairfireman21
          It's a single V, it keeps itself together, and since it is more rigid than wires, it would not sag as much or sway as much in the wind. There is also the added benefit of keeping rain and snow out of the electrical contact area.
      Roy_H
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah, but those overhead wires look ugly. I can see that there are some advantages but I think quick charge stations and batteries are a better option.
        Vlad
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Cleaner air now, not when batteries are cheap and plentiful, would be just beautiful.
        G
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        Swappable batteries for short-haul trucks (like garbage trucks-the most inefficient) make sense. But long haul trucks need something else... Perhaps inductive chargers built into the road surface?
          Chris M
          • 2 Years Ago
          @G
          This is a system built overhead - achieves the same goal, but at a lower installation cost, and it may have higher efficiency, too. The downside is the ugly overhead wires, and the additional air drag from the pantograph.
          fairfireman21
          • 2 Years Ago
          @G
          With all the lights the truck must have on all the time and the compressor that smashes the garbage then you would need lots of power and lots of extra expensive batteries. Inductive chargers in the road then you are talking Billions of dollars and delays for ICE's to go around the cunstruction zones. Both not good ideas.
        ElectricAvenue
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        Aesthetics are subjective. I would agree that overhead wires in a city can be a bit overwhelming at junctions. But two overhead wires over the curb lane in each direction of a highway would not be a major visual distraction. I think it's a small price to pay for cleaner air. The trucks themselves would be much simpler and longer-lasting, and would not need a huge hood or anywhere near as much space for a cab-over. Take a look at the electric motor installation in the Tesla Model S. Two of those between-the-wheel installations (in an "8 wheel drive" (2 sets of dualies) truck) would be all you'd need. There are about 400 trolleybus systems in operation in the world. It's a proven technology.
        charliestyr
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Roy_H
        For cars absolutely, but trucks are a whole other thing, I don't think batteries work well for trucks which do long haul... I would love to see trucks like this on the roads instead of diesel. They could/should/presumably will also have a small battery that could power them a reasonable distance such as 20 miles or so to easily get to warehouses off of highways etc, and also for overtaking/emergencies.
          fairfireman21
          • 2 Years Ago
          @charliestyr
          I agree. The more weight you put in a vehicle the power it takes to propell it, so batteries would not last long in say garbage/refuse trucks or even highway maint trucks.
      EVnerdGene
      • 2 Years Ago
      "That means far less diesel being belched on Sweden's roads." from ABG's description above
      • 2 Years Ago
      This idea is taken from another concept. Siemens has taken the pantograph from the concept of Global Intelligent Transportation System (GITS). This concept was sent to Siemens on 12/12/2010 by Vladimir Postnikov to discuss it after this concept was presented on 17th ITS World Congress (Location: Busan , South Korea. Date: 2010-10-25 to 2010-10-29). http://trid.trb.org/view/1137431 Present version of a conventional highway truck and bus with pantograph is the first step to steal the whole concept because Siemens-Scania “eHighway” truck is a deadlock. GITS is a real future. To go to GITS through the “eHighways” means that the Siemens wants to privatize the idea of GITS. I think it is too late. Vladimir Postnikov
      Vlad
      • 2 Years Ago
      Good idea. Long proven for public transport and on railways, no reason not to adopt trucks to use overhead wires. It completely sidesteps batteries, the weakest link in current generation of EVs. Regular combustion engine can be turned on automatically for non-electrified stretches of roads. Visual impact of overhead wires on highways outside cities is going to be minimal, and well worth the added environmental and economical benefits. Inter-city trolleys in Ukraine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crimean_Trolleybus
      ammca66564
      • 2 Years Ago
      I recall the electric buses Seattle had in the '60s. Their roof mounted electric connecters were forever flying off the wires at corners (and Seattle has got some crazy corners), requiring the driver to get out and haul on the spring loaded connector arms to get them back in place. My Dad and I used to watch this process from a drug store soda fountain we'd visit after going to the public library - the buses were a main attraction for stopping there.
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