Already famous for San Francisco’s cable cars, California is set to receive a new set of cable trucks, reducing carbon emission and fuel use along highway routes used to haul freight between the port of Long Beach and Los Angeles. Called eHighway, the system will connect hybrid diesel-electric trucks to overhead electric cables similar to those used to run cable cars and tramways. Though the technology was developed and tested by the German company Siemens, Los Angeles will be the system’s first true urban test. Siemens expects to connect freight trucks to electric lines along Interstate 710 within the year.
What’s the Big Idea?
As 40% of all goods that enter the US come through the port of the Long Beach and Los Angeles, Interstate 710 is an ideal testing ground for the green technology. Vehicle emissions could be cut by as much as 30% which, given the nearly 2.5 million gallons of oil consumed by cargo trucks each year, would be a needed improvement, especially since efficiency improvements in cargo trucks tend to lag far behind those of cars. “The downside, however, is that although electric lines are easy to install on highways and technologically simple, they are very expensive. They may cost as much as five to seven million dollars per mile.”