What are some cheap hacks for useful life

13.09.2018 11:30

Catenary trucks in the climate and cost check

Mandy lap Public and communication
Öko-Institut e. V. - Institute for Applied Ecology

Overhead line trucks can be a feasible and comparatively inexpensive option for future, more climate-friendly long-distance freight transport on the road. A current study by the Öko-Institut shows that both the construction of the overhead contact line system along federal motorways and the conversion of vehicles to electric drives have advantages compared to the alternatives examined from the perspective of costs and climate protection.

In 2025, O-trucks can emit a quarter less CO2 than diesel vehicles - even if they become significantly more efficient in the future - and achieve cost advantages over diesel vehicles within the typical service life of five years.

Catenary truck with advantages for climate protection

The most important reason for using overhead line trucks in road freight transport is their possible contribution to climate protection. A comparison of different drive technologies has shown that electric trucks can save the most CO2. In 2025, O-trucks will be able to emit 25 percent less climate-damaging CO2 than diesel vehicles; in 2030 it would be 32 percent less due to the ongoing energy transition. If you compare the O-trucks in 2030 with today's diesel vehicles, the CO2 emissions can even be halved by then. In addition, the electric vehicle variants - purely battery-electric and overhead line trucks - have the highest energy efficiency. For the same distance traveled, they only need half as much energy as today's trucks with combustion engines and less than trucks that run on electricity-based fuels.

Cost advantages for vehicles and infrastructure

The analysis also shows advantages for users in terms of the costs of the new technology: Even over a typical service life for long-haul trucks of five years, overhead line trucks have lower total operating costs than diesel vehicles in 2025. The higher acquisition costs for the vehicles are more than compensated for over a useful life of five years by lower energy and maintenance costs.
The construction of the overhead line infrastructure along the motorways is also associated with manageable investments. The construction of a 4,000 km network by 2030 could be financed with around 20 percent of the current annual toll income. Even in comparison to other major infrastructure projects such as broadband expansion, the total costs remain manageable.

"Our comparison of technologies shows clear advantages of overhead line trucks over diesel in terms of economy for users and climate protection," summarizes Florian Hacker, project manager at the Öko-Institut. "Whether the technology will be a success, however, depends above all on the incentives that politicians provide for climate-friendly freight transport in the future and whether they play a decisive role in the development of the infrastructure."

Background: greenhouse gas emissions in (freight) traffic

According to the Federal Government's “Climate Protection Plan 2050”, greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector are to fall by 40 to 42 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels, ie to 95 to 98 million tons. With a view to the Paris climate protection agreement, CO2 emissions from transport must be reduced to practically zero in the long term. The current trend points in a different direction: In recent years, greenhouse gas emissions from transport have continued to rise. In 2017, they were more than 170 million tons. Around 40 million tons of this are caused by commercial vehicles, i.e. trucks with a gross vehicle weight of more than 3.5 tons.

Background: trolley truck

Overhead line trucks have a pantograph and an electric drive and can therefore run on electricity on sections of the route with overhead lines. A supplementary combustion engine or a larger battery ensure that the vehicle can also drive beyond the overhead contact line. A comprehensive overhead contact line network is therefore not a mandatory requirement. The external power supply enables the electric operation of long-distance trucks over long distances without having to rely on large, expensive and heavy battery storage systems and long downtimes for battery charging. Overhead line trucks are locally emission-free when operated electrically. CO2 emissions arise on the sections that are bridged by the combustion engine and when generating electricity.

To the StratON project

The present report is a partial result of the research project "StratON - Evaluation and Implementation Strategies for Catenary Heavy Commercial Vehicles" funded by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, which the Öko-Institut (project management) and the Heilbronn University, the Fraunhofer- Institute for Labor Management and Organization IAO and Intraplan GmbH.

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The Öko-Institut is one of Europe's leading, independent research and consulting institutes for a sustainable future. Since it was founded in 1977, the institute has been developing principles and strategies for implementing the vision of sustainable development globally, nationally and locally. The institute is represented in Freiburg, Darmstadt and Berlin.

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Scientific contact:

Florian Hacker
Deputy Head of the department
Resources & mobility
Öko-Institut e.V., Berlin office
Phone: +49 30 405085-373
Email: [email protected]

Sven Kühnel
Scientific employee in the institute area
Resources & mobility
Öko-Institut e.V., Berlin office
Phone: +49 30 405085-309
Email: [email protected]

Original publication:

Study "Overhead line trucks in the context of further drive and energy supply options for long-distance road freight transport" by the Öko-Institut (https: //www.oeko.de/fileadmin/oekodoc/StratON-O-Lkw-Technologievergleich-2018.pd ...)


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