Tram-Trucks on E-Highways Could Massively Decarbonise Road Haulage

A group of academics handed the sooty chalice challenge of making the UK’s lorry fleet better for the environment is pushing an established idea to help, and is proposing we allocate one lane of motorway to retrofitted electrified trucks able to pull power from electrical  lines above, train and tram style. And kerpow, there’s no need for battery charging stopovers or trucks with enormous batteries at all. The Centre for Sustainable Road Freight says a remarkably precise figure of GBP19.3bn could create a large network of such an “electric road system” for use by the goods trucking industries, and why not, seeing as we’re chucking the billions around at various green and green-ish recovery options right now.

That money would pay for 4,300 miles of UK road to be wired up by the 2030s, and it’s all such a great idea that it could pay for its build within 15 years, and trucking firms would be cash-positive within 18 months of upgrading fleets thanks to fuel savings. Plus, seeing as it’s only stringing up cables, the build time for all three of the proposed phases would be a total of just over seven years; and Phase One, on mostly English motorway, could take just two years and cost GBP5.6bn. The technology is there, or nearly there, and has been tested in various parts of Europe already.

The first generation of tram-trucks tested by Siemens and Scania run on mainline power while cruising, also charging modest onboard batteries as they go, for the last mile(s) of delivery off the grid. [Centre for Sustainable Road Freight [PDF] via Guardian]

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