Life Cycle Cost Reduction in Electric Distribution Transport Through Pantograph-Based Modular Systems for Trucks and Tractor Units

  LiVePLuS Copyright: © PEM RWTH Aachen

In September 2019, the German government adopted the Climate Protection Programme 2030. This set the reduction of emissions of climate-damaging greenhouse gases by 55% by 2030 compared with 1990. In the transport sector, the target for carbon dioxide reduction is at least 40%. In freight transport, heavy trucks, which also include semitrailer tractors, are responsible for a significant proportion of CO2 emissions. Due to the high energy demand of these vehicles, which results from the high mileage and the total weight of up to 40 tons and 44 tons respectively, there is no competitive solution for electrification so far.

In the "LiVePLuS" project, an electric drive train is being developed with the aim of making heavy goods transport economically viable. For this purpose, a modular system for the electric drive train with battery and pantograph is being designed. With the help of the modular system, semitrailer tractors and other heavy trucks can be electrified in an application-optimized way by configuring the drive train based on customer requirements. The battery capacity can be kept comparatively low due to the power supply by an overhead line. The subgoals of the project are:

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

In the course of the project, two semitrailer tractors will be converted and tested on lines with overhead line infrastructure in order to validate the research results. The findings are intended to prove the suitability of semitrailer tractors with pantographs and serve as a basis and enabler for future series developments.

Further information about the project can be found on the LiVePLuS website (German).

Research and project partner

- Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) of RWTH Aachen University


02/01/2020 through 07/31/2022

Project sponsor

VDI/VDE Innovation + Technik GmbH


Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety



+49 175 2662705


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