First eHighway on the German autobahn in operation since May 7th, 2019


Catenary hybrid truck driving on the test track between Darmstadt and Frankfurt
Catenary hybrid truck driving on the test track between Darmstadt and Frankfurt

"We planned and executed this innovation project in record time. Taking and maintaining it in operation within normal road traffic is pioneering work in its own right," says Prof. Gerd Riegelhuth, President of Hessen Mobil and draws the following interim conclusion: "The experiences of the first year have been very satisfying. All occurences will be analyzed in detail and have some influence on the scientific assessment of the technology." Riegelhuth also praises how well all participants have been collaborating, among others the responsible fire departments and the autobahn maintenance authority in Darmstadt. In the past months, Hessen Mobil and all involved parties have developed safety concepts and innovative solutions that fit the new technology precisely.

Since the track was put into operation, the two catenary hybrid trucks have each been taking several trips per day on the eHighway. "We actually planned to be further along by now. But the restrictions in relation to the Corona virus really took their toll," explains Prof. Riegelhuth. Another two catenary hybrid trucks were constructed in Sweden and equipped with the specialized technology. They arrived in Germany weeks ago but due to travel limitations can not be put into operation by the manufacturer's experts and delivered to the logistics companies. Likewise, all training of the logistics companies' drivers has been put on hold. The fifth truck is scheduled to be delivered to Hessen in late summer.

It is the goal of everyone involved to pick up the pace once the restrictions end, and to allow additional trial vehicles. In spite of the current delay, all planned cata collection and assessment that is needed for the scientific examination, are to be completed until the end of the field trial within the next two and a half years.

Referring to the key importance of the project, Prof. Riegelhuth says: "This technology could be the key to granting freight transport a bigger role within the transformation of traffic. To this end we need valid scientific findings. It is a very inspiring task and a bis responsibility for everyone involved in the ELISA project". Other project partners include the Department for Traffic Planning and Engineering of TU Darmstadt (Prof. Manfred Boltze), the system manufacturer Siemens Mobility GmbH and the energy provider ENTEGA AG. Previous logistics partners in the project have been Hans Adam Schanz GmbH & Co. KG and Ludwig Meyer GmbH & Co. KG. They use the eHighway for everyday delivery trips for their customers.

The start of the ELISA test track a year ago was a milestone on the way to a climate-friendly road freight transport: Overhead power lines supply dedicated trucks with green energy. The catenary trucks run emission-free on a 10-kilometer section of the autobahn A 5 between Frankfurt and Darmstadt. The pilot track was implemented by Hessen Mobil and construction and operation financed by the Federal Ministry for the Environment.

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