PEM Develops Trolley Truck

LiVePLuS Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen

In the research project "LiVePLuS", the chair "Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components" (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University is working on the development of an economically viable electric drivetrain for heavy goods vehicles. To this end, a modular construction kit with battery and overhead current collector (pantograph) is being designed. With the help of this modular system, tractor units and other heavy trucks are to be electrified depending on the application by configuring the powertrain on the basis of the respective customer requirements. By supplying power from an overhead line, the battery capacity can be designed to be comparatively low.

Overall transport has to emit 40 percent less CO2

In September 2019, the German government had adopted the Climate Protection Program 2030, which set a target of reducing emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases by 55 percent compared with 1990. In the transport sector, the carbon dioxide reduction target is at least 40 percent. In freight transport, heavy trucks, which include tractor-trailers, are responsible for a significant proportion of CO2 emissions. Due to the high energy requirements of such vehicles, which result from their high mileage and their total weight of up to 40 and 44 tons respectively, no competitive solution for their electrification exists to date.

Groundwork for serial development

In the course of the project, two tractor units will be converted and tested on routes with overhead line infrastructure to validate the research results. The findings are intended to demonstrate the suitability of tractor units with pantographs and serve as a basis and enabler for future series developments.

Further information on the project is provided on the German LiVePLuS website and in this press release.



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The project

  • "LiVePLuS": Life cycle cost reduction in electric distribution transport through pantograph-based modular systems for trucks and tractor units

Research objectives

  • Development of an electric drive train with pantograph
  • Design of a modular kit for vehicle conversion
  • Validation of the results by prototype vehicles

Research and project partners

PEM of RWTH Aachen University

Project management

VDI/VDE Innovation + Technology GmbH

Funding code

  • 16EM4016-1


Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK)