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Germany's first E-highway opens

Germany's first E-highway opens

Germany's first E-highway opens

On Tuesday, Germany’s first E-highway commenced operation on the A5 in Hesse. On a 5-km stretch of the motorway, special hybrid trucks can now recharge their batteries while driving. The technology should help reduce the emissions produced by heavy goods traffic.

Electric motorway recharges hybrid cars

At 9.30am on Tuesday, May 7, Germany’s first ever E-highway was officially put into operation. Until the end of 2022, lorries from five of Germany’s largest freight forwarders will test out a 5-kilometre section of modified motorway to see how it performs under everyday conditions. The modified stretch runs between the Langen / Mörfelden and Weiterstadt junctions, around 20 kilometres from Frankfurt.

The idea is simple: when entering the E-highway, the specially-converted hybrid lorries will dock onto an overhead power line via special pantograph connections mounted on their roofs. This allows them to recharge their batteries while driving along in regular traffic. In the future, the technology could potentially allow all vehicles to recharge on the go.

“Innovative solution” to German transport emissions

This 5-kilometre section has been in tests for nearly five months already. With this latest phase, the project’s coordinators want to test the technology’s everyday practicality. The A5 is one of the busiest motorways in Germany, with over 135.000 vehicles - including 14.000 lorries - using it each day. Important questions therefore remain about how E-mobility will affect traffic, emergency services and emissions in the long run.

The Federal Ministry for the Environment, who commissioned the project, is hopeful that the technology will prove to be an “innovative solution” to the problem of pollution caused by the transport industry. So far, the government has invested just under 50 million euros in E-highway technology, with 15 million euros going towards this section of the A5 alone. Two more test sections in Schleswig-Holstein and Baden-Württemberg are to be built in the coming months.

Thumb: Hessen Mobil

Abi

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Abi Carter

Abi studied History & German at the University of Manchester. She has since worked as a writer, editor and content marketeer, but still has a soft spot for museums, castles...

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