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December 3, 2013

Idea could move trucks by overhead wires

As transportation officials and city planners contemplate growing traffic problems some unique ideas have emerged, including a concept that would allow commercial trucks to link to overhead wires and coast on electric power.

“The eHighway, as it’s known, would operate much like a ‘roided-out trolley-car line,” writes John Metcalfe on The Atlantics Cities blog. “The idea is to work with truck manufacturers to develop a hybrid vehicle with a pantograph that couples with a power line running above the highway.”

Metcalfe describes the concept by writing that “When a truck pulls onto the enhanced highway, its pantograph grips the line and allows the trucker to switch off the gas and cruise solely on voltage. Braking would activate a mechanism to transfer the dragging momentum into energy, which would be shot back into the grid for all the cargo trucks to use. When the driver is ready to exit, he disengages his or her pantograph from the overhanging line and switches over to diesel fuel.”

The concept is stuff of science fiction, but indicates that the way trucks move throughout the country could change drastically as new technologies are developed.