The German state of Hesse has appointed Siemens to build an overhead contact line for electrified freight transport on a 10km stretch of motorway.

The new line is set to supply electricity to the electric drive of a hybrid truck.

The overhead contact line will be installed on the A5 federal motorway between the Zeppelinheim/Cargo City Süd interchange at Frankfurt Airport and the Darmstadt/Weiterstadt interchange.

Under the terms of the agreement, Siemens will be involved in the planning, construction and, as an option, maintenance of the system.

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"We've created an economically viable solution for climate-neutral freight transport by road."

The new system is being installed as part of the ‘Electrified, innovative heavy freight transport on autobahns’ (ELISA) joint project from Germany's Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB).

Hessen Mobil will manage the project.

Hessen Mobil transport head Gerd Riegelhuth said: "Construction of the system will demonstrate the feasibility of integrating overhead contact systems with a public highway. The system will be used for real transport networks, and prove the practicality of climate-neutral freight transport in the urban region of Frankfurt."

The eHighway will be tested on a public highway in Germany for the first time.

Siemens Mobility chief technology officer Roland Edel said: "With the eHighway, we've created an economically viable solution for climate-neutral freight transport by road.

“Our technology is an already existing and feasible alternative to trucks operating with internal combustion engines.”

According to the company, the eHighway helps to minimise energy consumption and also helps in reducing local air pollution.

Image: The overhead contact line will supply electricity for the electric drive of a hybrid truck. Photo: courtesy of Siemens.