As a means of making road freight more economical and environmentally friendly, Germany’s environment ministry had tasked Siemens with developing an “eHighway” system that would allow hybrid trucks to run purely on electricity. A portion of that effort is now live on a stretch of the Autobahn near Frankfurt.

Specially designed hybrid trucks can run purely on electricity and charge their batteries on this road by activating their pantographs (conductor rods), which connect and draw power from 670-volt overhead cables. Energy is fed back to the cables when a driver brakes, helping power other vehicles on the network.

According to a Siemens infographic, these trucks will save $22,400 in fuel per 62,100 miles.

The program, driven by Germany’s ambitious 2050 target of a 95% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions compared with 1990 levels, is expected to save 6 million tons of CO2 emissions per year if 30% of truck traffic on German highways is electrified. A report from Germany’s transportation ministry says that up to 80% of the country’s truck traffic may soon become electrified.

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