August 8, 2014 12:00 PM, EDT
Truck Trolley Demo Track to be Built Near Ports of L.A., Long Beach

An overhead electric trolley system for heavy-duty trucks will be installed by Siemens near the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California.

The engineering firm said it was selected by the South Coast Air Quality Management District to install the two-way, 1-mile demonstration “eHighway” system.

The catenary system is similar to how many modern streetcars and trolleys are powered and will be demonstrated with different battery-electric and hybrid trucks.

Mack Trucks is developing a demonstration vehicle for the project, and Siemens is supplying the technology that allows trucks to connect and disconnect from the catenary system at any speed.

It is expected the system will reduce fossil fuel consumption, smog and CO2 emissions, as well as lower operating costs.

“As the first and second busiest container ports in the U.S., Long Beach and Los Angeles can benefit tremendously from the eHighway system, significantly reducing emissions from commercial trucks that normally contribute to much of the air pollution in this region,” Matthias Schlelein, president of Siemens Mobility and Logistics division, said in a statement.

“The economic logic of the eHighway system is very compelling for cities like L.A., where many trucks travel a concentrated and relatively short distance. Highly traveled corridors such as this are where we will initially see eHighway being applied,” Schlelein said.

SCAQMD said the intention of the yearlong demonstration is to create a knowledge base for possible expansion locally and regionally.

The track will be installed on the north and southbound section of Alameda Street in Carson, California, and up to four trucks will make multiple drives per day, according to Siemens.

Instillation is expected to being immediately and be completed by July 2015.