New Electric Highway Opens in California

Electric Highway

Carson, California is now home to the first electric highway in the United States. While other American roads clustered with stationary car chargers have been dubbed electric highways, the one-mile section of South Alameda Street is the only one that can truly be called electric.

The road's revolutionary conductive electrical transmission technology debuted publicly in Sweden last year. Unlike most methods of electrical charging, the technology allows vehicles to be powered while they are moving. The highway's design is currently geared towards fully electric and hybrid semi trucks. The electric highway includes charging wires above the right lane of the road. Trucks are equipped with a pantograph located on top of the truck cab. The pantograph easily attaches to the cables hanging over the highway's right lane, allowing the truck to be powered by the external source. The pantograph easily detaches from the cables, permitting trucks to easily switch lanes and exit the highway when needed.

The new electric highway is part of California's plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions around its freeways and ports. The risk of cancer from pollutants is greater around such areas, and Carson is perfectly situated to debut the new technology. Located between the city of Los Angeles and the Port of Los Angeles, Carson is a hub for trucks transporting cargo to and from the busy port. German engineering firm Siemens has partnered with the South Coast Air Quality Management District to see if the electric highway will be a practical way for truckers to haul their goods around the state.

California is not the only area taking advantage of dynamic vehicle charging. Currently, central Sweden already has a similar electric highway that uses the same conductive electrical transmission technology. Qualcomm has developed a dynamic charging technology that does not require cables, and Israeli firm ElectRoad is working with the Israeli government to build a bus system that charges buses wirelessly as they complete their route. If self-driving cars do become the preferred transportation method of the future, dynamic charging technology would be invaluable since it could allow vehicles to stay on the road almost indefinitely.



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