United Kingdom

Lorries could run on overhead power lines motorways in bid to 'decarbonise' road freight 

Lorries powered by overhead electric cables could run on Britain's motorways as part of a push to 'decarbonise' road freight.

Instead of polluting the air with diesel fumes, trucks could run like trolleybuses of years gone by, picking up cleaner power from above.

The lorries would also have a battery to power them to and from the motorway.

A trial scheme has been proposed for a 12-mile stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, which would receive £2million of government funding and could be operational by 2024.

Lorries powered by overhead electric cables (pictured) could run on Britain's motorways. The lorries would also have a battery to power them to and from the motorway

It involves lorry manufacturers Scania, electrical giant Siemens and infrastructure company Costain. 

Currently, no technology exists on a large scale that is capable of powering long-haul lorries with zero direct exhaust fumes.

The project, revealed by The Guardian, comes after the Government published its long-awaited transport decarbonisation plan earlier this month, which said new diesel and petrol lorries will be banned in Britain by 2040. 

The plans, which form part of the push to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, have given lorry companies little time to develop technology to keep the industry moving.

The electric road system is one of several options that will be funded, alongside a study of hydrogen fuel cell trucks and battery electric lorries, the Department of Transport revealed. 

A trial scheme was proposed for a 12-mile stretch of the M180 near Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire, which would receive £2m government funding and could be operational by 2024

The e-highway study will be part of £20million zero-emission road freight trials funded by the Department for Transport.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the Government was 'leading the way in the transition to zero-emission vehicles by becoming the first country in the world to commit to ending the sale of all new fossil-fuelled road vehicles by 2040'.

He added: 'From Doncaster to Scotland, by working in partnership with industry this funding will allow us to better understand the role of zero-emission HGVs, whilst boosting regional economies.' 

Tesla is already close to the start of production on its own all-electric truck, the Semi.

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