The Department for Transport has revealed that it is awarding part of a £20 million pot to businesses to explore how zero-emission trucks can be electrified for long-range use.
The aim is for the trucks to use overhead wires on motorways around the UK to help meet the government’s aim to achieve zero emissions.
This is just one of the projects to receive cash, but it will be the first study on how electric highways can be created to help with the electrification of HGVs.
The money is part of the transport decarbonisation plan and with electric roads, trucks with batteries will have the equipment to attach to overhead wires to help recharge the battery and power the vehicle.
The consortium consists of Scania, Siemens, Costain and the Centre for Sustainable Road Freight.
Siemens mobility ‘eHighway’ technology
Under the plan, the Siemens mobility ‘eHighway’ technology would be used as this has already been trialled on small roads in Sweden and Germany.
A nine-month study will look at the feasibility of electric highways by electrifying 19 miles of the M180 as a pilot project.
This is part of the motorway that links the logistics hubs in Doncaster, and its airport, with Immingham Port.
Alistair Barnes, Innovate UK’s innovation lead for zero-emission vehicles, said: “We’re delighted that this consortium is bringing its extensive experience to solve challenges around decarbonising HGVs by planning to demonstrate this technology at scale on UK roads.
“Innovate UK is proud to be supporting this project as part of its partnership with the DfT.”
The move means that HGVs, which represent 1.2% of total road vehicles, account for 18% of all CO2 emissions from vehicles.
Operational electric road system
Now, the consortium says that an operational electric road system will create thousands of new jobs because 200,000 new electric trucks will be required over the next 15 years.
They say that haulage firms can recoup the initial investment in a new battery-powered history within 18 months because of lower energy costs.
In addition, they say that the investment in an electric infrastructure network would be repaid in 15 years.
‘Transition to zero emission vehicles’
The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said: “Through our bold and ambitious transport decarbonisation plan, we’re leading the way in the transition to zero emission vehicles by becoming the first country in the world to commit to ending the sale of all new fossil-fuelled road vehicles by 2040, subject to consultation.
“From Doncaster to Scotland, by working in partnership with industry, this funding will allow us to better understand the role of zero emission HGVs while levelling up the industry and boosting regional economies.”