Electric Highways May Be the Answer to Making Trucks Emission-free

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In the global push to reduce vehicles’ impact on the climate, environmentalists and policymakers have long targeted the heavy-duty trucking industry and its disproportionate share of transportation emissions. Numerous companies are investing in electric or hydrogen-powered trucks, but they face many of the same issues as passenger vehicles: limited ranges and/or lengthy charging times in the case of EVs, and a lack of fueling infrastructure in the case of hydrogen fuel cells. This week, the New York Times detailed a project that hopes to provide a third alternative: What if trucks could be charged while driving on highways? Volkswagen’s truck division, industrial technology giant Siemens, and German highway regulators outfitted several small stretches of highway with the types of overhead cables usually seen powering trains and streetcars. A small group of trucks was then outfitted with specialized equipment to connect to those cables.

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