Sparks drives truck innovation

HOOKED UP: Scania and Siemens’ electrically powered experiment hybrid truck with current collectors.
HOOKED UP: Scania and Siemens’ electrically powered experiment hybrid truck with current collectors.

AT VISBY, on the Swedish isle of Gotland, Scania and Siemens are looking forward to demonstrating an electrically-powered truck.

On the road between Pajala and the iron mine at Svappavaara in far north Sweden, if the route is electrified with overhead cables, the trucks will deliver iron ore.

"This is one of many projects at Scania to identify new fuel-saving future alternatives," Scania public affairs manager Sara Bengtsson said.

Trucks containing ore will drive about 150km to Svappavaara round-the- clock and reload to the Iron Ore Line (Malmbanan), a railway carrying ore to a port on the coast of Norway.

In a recent report, the Swedish Transport Administration said electrically-powered trucks, either using overhead cables or rails on the road, were a realistic alternative.

Scania and Siemens have devised an electrically powered experimental truck with current collectors.

An overhead conductive power supply is probably the only realistic solution, since the road, built on bogs, moves up and down.

"Development of our electrified vehicle has to take place on a step-by-step basis," expert engineer at Hybrid Systems Development, NBB, Johan Lindstrom said.

"We are using electrified gearboxes that were developed in hybrid projects, but then a large electrical motor must be added to the powertrain in order to drive 90 tonnes of payload entirely by electricity."

Siemens' technology known as eHighway resembles trolley buses of old but is more advanced. Systems in the truck detect overhead cables via a laser sensor and unfurl the current collectors.

A hall sensor lets the truck follow the cable and current collectors move backward and forward laterally to ensure continuous contact.

Siemens has built a 4km-long test track outside Berlin. The challenging part was not building the overhead cables, but building systems to allow the truck to be rapidly connected to and from the power supply when the truck is instead powered by diesel.

The Swedish Transport Administration has proposed the overhead cables should initially be placed along a 12km stretch of the Pajala- Svappavaara road to help with development.

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