Siemens Mobility partners with Continental to electrify Germany’s highway networks

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A new partnership between Siemens Mobility and Continental Engineering Services aims to electrify Germany’s highway road network and help the country to reduce carbon emissions.

The two will develop and manufacture pantographs for trucks. Siemens Mobility and Continental will electrify key stretches of highway networks in Germany’s autobahn network with overhead contact lines.

The new partnership combines expertise from two technology worlds: Siemens Mobility is a specialist in rail electrification, Continental Engineering Services is a development and production service provider for automotive technologies. The two companies will now pool their know-how to quickly achieve series production of truck pantographs.

The “National Platform for the Future of Mobility”, an innovation initiative of the Federal Ministry of Transport, recommends that 4,000 kilometers of autobahns be equipped with overhead line systems by 2030, taking into account that roughly two-thirds of the fuel consumption in long-distance truck transport occurs on the most heavily traveled 4,000 kilometers of the 13,000-kilometer autobahn network.

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If this network core can be electrified and trucks operating on the routes with electric drives (battery, hybrid, hydrogen) can be easily supplied with electricity, this would make a major contribution to climate protection. The pantographs and the eHighway will enable trucks to operate completely electrically and at the same time charge their batteries without using fuel.

Siemens Mobility’s eHighway is currently being tested on three public routes in Germany: on the A5 autobahn in the state of Hesse between the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Süd junction at Frankfurt Airport and Darmstadt/Weiterstadt; in the state of Schleswig-Holstein on the A1 autobahn between the Reinfeld and Lübeck junctions; and on the B462 federal highway in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg between Kuppenheim and Gaggenau.

The eHighway field tests are funded by the Federal Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure supports the scaling of overhead lines for long-distance transport in so-called innovation clusters and intends to initiate large pilot systems by 2023.

Michael Peter, CEO of Siemens Mobility, said: “Highway freight transport plays a central role in the fight against climate change. In Germany, it accounts for one-third of all the CO 2 emissions in the transport sector. Truck manufacturers are pursuing various concepts to reduce this burden. With its eHighway, Siemens Mobility has already developed a ready-to-use technology for energy-efficient, cost-effective and emission-free truck transport that can be combined with other drive systems to become the backbone for fighting climate change in this sector.”

Dr. Christoph Falk-Gierlinger, CEO of CES, adds: “The pantographs will be further developed and manufactured to meet automotive standards.”

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