Germany has opened the first stretch of a so-called electric highway that will connect hybrid trucks to overhead wires, allowing them to recharge while traveling on the country’s main transportation arteries.
The 10-kilometer (6-mile) stretch south of Frankfurt on Germany’s A5 autobahn was opened last week, the German state of Hesse said in a statement. One truck is using it now, with four more planned by 2020.
The system was built by Munich-based engineering firm Siemens AG, while Volkswagen AG’s Scania trucks unit provided the vehicles. It uses technology similar to trains or trams, allowing to trucks to link on while driving at up to 90 kilometers an hour, drawing power from the wires above. The electricity charges up the trucks’ battery, allowing it to drive electrically for a while afterward, with a diesel motor kicking in once the battery is depleted.