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AMELIE 2 - Standardisation and harmonisation of overhead contact line systems

Standardisation and harmonisation of overhead contact line systems for electric trucks and research of energy supply and billing scenarios in a European perspective 2

Although, the automotive industry already made some significant progress introducing sustainable drive technologies for cars we are still looking for a realistic and competitive solution to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions of heavy duty and long-haul trucks used in the constantly growing freight transportation market.

The project AMELIE 2 investigates one of the options to reach this goal – the electrification of trucks by means of an overhead contact line system.

Project background:

One reasonable option more closely examined since 2010 is the electrical drive of trucks via an overhead contact line (OCL) similar to the OCL for railway applications.

Here the ecologically friendly shipping provided by rail technology will be combined with the flexibility of spatially and temporally independent commercial vehicles.

Unlike rail applications, the overhead contact line does not need to be installed along the whole road. Where available, the OCL delivers the electric current for the drive engine directly and, additionally loads the batteries to be used for the continuation of the journey off the OCL track. As far as known, this technology is particularly suitable for the integration into hybrid trucks as well as into the upcoming battery electric trucks.

Siemens developed such a system called „eHighway“. In several preceding projects, lead-managed by Siemens, a number of companies and research institutes investigated this system, and meanwhile

  • demonstrated the technical feasibility of the system „ eHighway “,
  • allayed the basic safety concerns,
  • tested pilot facilities and truck prototypes under realistic conditions,
  • evaluated the financial efficiency of the required investment,
  • investigated environmental sustainability compared to other concepts as well as
  • examined the regulative and statutory framework, to include the OCL systems into the German infrastructure concerning road management, electric power generation and competition law.

To prepare the political decision-making and the possible implementation of the overhead contact line system into the German road infrastructure former investigations will be continued and extended in the project AMELIE 2. The research team of the IVR supervised by Michael Lehmann (professor for railroad in international context), Uwe Adler (professor for automotive engineering) and Carsten Kuehnel (professor for intelligent transportation systems) works closely together with the project leader Siemens Mobility GmbH and the IKEM – Institut für Klimaschutz, Energie und Mobilitaet e. V.

Target of the research project:

AMELIE 2 targets the generation of preferred scenarios for the initial investment strategy, usage/consumption recordings and billing methods for the OCL-system. Also, the economic feasibility should be visualized to future customers, i. e. the trucking companies.

The interfaces between the overhead contact lines, the truck, the road and the environment including other road users must have a compatible design. So, during the AMELIE 2 project life time we will identify gaps and elaborate a roadmap containing recommendations to create new and amend existing directives and standards.

To allow a Europe-wide utilisation of an OCL system the regulatory framework of the other European countries will be investigated as well and required harmonisation and regulation will be examined.

Another task will deal with potential synergies between the OCL technology and further trends for the future heavy-duty transport business.

Aspired results:

During the project life time between November 2020 and October 2023 the FH Erfurt will focus on the following 4 main objectives:

  • Developing an online tool to evaluate the economic benefits of the overhead contact line. Potential users of the system will be enabled to evaluate their financial efforts and the economic advantages of the OCL system
  • Creating a road map containing the necessary standardisation requirements of the OCL system. This ensures the compatibility, reliability and safety of all system components on national and prepares it on international level
  • Initiating a discussion board on European level to harmonise the minimum road requirements for the installation of overhead contact lines and
  • Producing a concept study „ Vision of Digital & Electrified Road “

Project management

  • Prof Michael Lehmann
  • Prof Carsten Kühnel
  • Prof Uwe Adler