Germany has opened its first electrified highway for trucks near Frankfurt as part of the country’s plans to reduce carbon and nitrogen oxides emissions.

The 5km to 6km stretch on the Autobahn (motorway) 5 between Darmstadt and Frankfurt will be tested in both directions until 2022.

Called ‘electrified, innovative heavy traffic on the autobahn’ (Elisa), the project involves five logistics companies testing vehicles in real traffic with hybrid, battery-powered trucks.

A system developed by Siemens will enable trucks to draw electricity from overhead cables on the eHighway.

The system will enable big rigs with special equipment mounted on their roofs to connect to electrified lines while traveling at speeds of up to 90km an hour, reported CNN Business.

Once connected to overhead lines, the trucks start running on electric motors. However, they will use their hybrid system once returning to normal operation mode.

“Electrified trucks are a particularly efficient solution on the road to carbon-neutral transportation.”

After opening the section of road between Frankfurt airport and a nearby industrial park, two more sections of e-Highway will open soon.

The German Government invested approximately €70m ($77m) to develop trucks capable of using the new electrified roads.

German Federal Ministry for the Environment state secretary Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter told the publication: “Electrified trucks are particularly efficient solution on the road to carbon-neutral transportation.”

If the trial’s outcomes are satisfactory, nearly 1,000km of Germany’s 13,000km autobahn network would be transformed into eHighway, according to Environment Ministry spokesman Stephan Haufe.

Truck manufacturer Scania, Volkswagen and Siemens collaborated on the electrified highway project.

Tests and demonstrations of the eHighway technology have also been performed in Sweden, as well as Los Angeles and Long Beach in the US.