The Indian Government is planning to trial an electric highway (e-highway) on the proposed Delhi-Mumbai expressway within the next three years to boost electric mobility in the country.

The plan was revealed by India’s Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari in parliament.

Initially, a 10km pilot e-highway will be built with overhead electric lines to power the engines of trucks and buses.

The pilot will be carried out by the Road Transport and Highways Ministry in collaboration with the Heavy Industries Department.

Sources familiar with the plan told The Times of India that the 10km section of e-highway will require an investment of approximately Rs2bn ($29m).

Truck makers will be contracted to produce some prototypes for testing purposes.

Government of India policy thinktank Niti Aayog is currently reviewing a recommendation made by an inter-ministerial committee to pilot an e-highway programme.

Gadkari said: “Trucks of 80t will be deployed and these will have electric cable to draw power from the overhead cable network. There will be two tracks and trucks with containers can run at 100km/h.

“The trucks will run on electricity for 20km and the battery will get charged to run on stretches where there is no overhead wire. Again, after some kilometres, these can tap the overhead wire and simultaneously get charged again while running.”

The concept of e-highway is not new, with a number of other countries already testing this idea. In August 2017, the German state of Hesse awarded a contract to Siemens to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport on a 10km stretch of motorway.

In May last year, Swedish commercial vehicle maker Scania announced that it would supply electric hybrid long-haulage trucks for the e-highway research project in Germany.

In May this year, Germany opened its first electrified highway on the Autobahn 5 between Darmstadt and Frankfurt to test the electrified highway’s efficiency. The test will last until 2022.

As part of strategy to boost electric mobility in the country, India is also planning to launch barricaded light rail tracks called Metrolite. These light rail tracks will pass through tier-II and III cities of the country.