Siemens introduced its “eHighway of the future” concept—the electrification of trucks and select highway lanes via overhead electrified wires similar to how modern day trolleys or streetcars are powered on city streets—at the 26th Annual Electric Vehicle Symposium in Los Angeles.

The eHighway concept is an easy solution to reducing pollution and will be very easy to integrate into existing highways and infrastructures, said Daryl Dulaney, CEO of Siemens Infrastructure and Cities, United States.

Essentially, Dulaney said, all that is needed is a hybrid diesel electric freight truck with built-in technology and software to connect to overhead electrified wires. The trucks are designed to use both electricity and diesel power and will automatically switch to electric mode when they detect and attach to the overhead lines. Once the truck leaves the lines, it switches back to diesel power. As the technology becomes more widely adopted, Siemens believes every truck equipped with an electric drive system will be able to use the eHighway regardless of whether it’s a diesel-electric, pure battery, fuel cell range extended, or CNG combustion engine vehicle.

Currently being tested in Germany, pilot projects are already being planned for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to connect to cargo centers. The technology also can be expanded to allow trucks to travel through densely populated cities.

Siemens has developed the supporting technology necessary to make the eHighway a reality: infrastructure, software, hardware and drives.