Germany has opened its first “eHighway” on a six-mile stretch of road on the autobahn near Frankfurt, reports Business Insider. The program, officially called ELISA (Electrified Innovative Heavy Traffic on the Autobahn), is a cosponsored product by the electronics giant Siemens and authorities from the German state of Hesse.
Along the six-mile stretch of the eHighway, 670-volt overhead cables have been strung across the road. Conductor rods have then been attached to hybrid trucks’ rooftops. While driving, when the truck’s conductor rods make contact with the overhead cables, the truck’s hybrid engines get a charge.
The trucks must be traveling below 56 miles per hour to successfully make a connection–anything faster and the trucks won’t benefit from a charge as they’re driving. Siemens says ELISA will save a 40-ton truck $22,000 in fuel costs for every 62,100 miles driven. The six-mile stretch of the eHighway will be open until 2022 when German officials will evaluate the performance of the project.
In 2017, we wrote about a similar pilot project in Los Angeles, where a system of overhead wires supplied power to trucks on a one-mile stretch of highway.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that Germany’s e-highway was the world’s first. It is Germany’s first.