It goes without saying that we need to get rid of vehicles that emit greenhouse gases that are causing climate change. Among passenger cars, electric vehicles are considered the most viable option, although there is still room for hydrogen fuel cells. In the trucking industry, that battle between big batteries and hydrogen is much more competitive, although there have been a number of setbacks in both areas – Tesla’s much-anticipated Semi was postponed again, and ailing hydrogen advocate Nikola is still trying to come back afterwards to bounce back allegations of fraud – has left an opening for another option.

As the New York Times reports in a new post, this third option is electric highways. In Germany, freight forwarders are currently testing the technology, which is more about transforming the infrastructure around trucks than about the vehicles themselves. The end product is like trams or trains, with wires hanging over the streets and charging these tugs as they pass through pantographs that extend from the top of the trucks.

“On one level, the idea makes perfect sense,” writes the Times. “The system is energy efficient because it supplies electricity to the motors directly from the power grid. The technology saves weight and money, as batteries are usually heavy and expensive and a truck with an overhead contact line only needs a sufficiently large battery to get from the exit to the destination. “

In other words, you can think of this as EV light. But while initial tests are promising, the cost of installing these wires on autobahns across Germany or any other country is prohibitive, even if they are only installed on major shipping routes. The argument against the initiative is that so much is being invested in battery technology that improvements in range, weight, or charge capacity could make these electric highways obsolete once they are ready, or that another, less burdensome, clean technology could have the same effect.

That’s not to say that big players don’t go for this option. The German electronics group Siemens and the automotive supplier Continental recently announced their cooperation in the production of pantographs for electric cars. In addition, the “eHighway” presented in the Times story is supported by Siemens, the German Autobahn GmbH and Traton, a commercial vehicle manufacturer and subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group.

What tends to get lost in these discussions, whether it’s busy electric adventure SUVs or fossil fuel free trucking, is the way the vehicles actually drive. What do the actual truck drivers want?

According to Thomas Schmieder, the driver interviewed by the Times, he had to deal with a few breakdowns here and there in his catenary-powered Scania truck.

“But big problems?” he mused. “No.”

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