China developing a ‘charge while driving’ electric road network

electric road

Machinery manufacturer SANY is investing heavily in hydrogen production and is also developing a ‘charge while driving’ electric road network.

China’s first electrified highway, co-constructed by SANY, CRRC Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Research Institute and Tsinghua University, was recently completed in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province. The milestone project opens up a new path for heavy-load highway freight.

SANY has designed, developed and manufactured the vehicles as well as the electric road core systems, owning full intellectual property rights.

The demonstration line is two-way and two-lane with seven-meter road width, 53 pillars and one box-type substation to support the 1.8-kilometer contact grid. The electrified highway provides a wide range of road condition scenarios for testing vehicle performance, including ramps, bumpy, waded and drenched roads.

With an overhead contact network similar to rail transit, the electrified highway is directly powered by the grid above to realise “charging while driving.” Compared to pure electric heavy trucks that run on power batteries, the new vehicle can prevent low temperature effects while increasing energy efficiency by six per cent.

Integrated hydrogen solutions

SANY has also set an ambitious goal to become China’s largest provider of integrated hydrogen solutions.

The group’s hydrogen energy subsidiary, SANY Hydrogen, is laying out a comprehensive hydrogen industry chain covering green production, storage, transportation and refuelling equipment. The company will focus on elevating core technological innovation and achieving a closed supply chain across the entire industry ecosystem to support China’s 2030/2060 “Dual Carbon” goals.

In March, SANY Hydrogen signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Guangtai Hydrogen Energy for the first 2,000kg hydrogen refueling station in Shanghai, leveraging SANY’s technological strengths to supply Guangtai Hydrogen Energy’s logistics vehicle operation layout and hydrogen refueling energy demand.

The station plans to install three units of 35MPa dual-metering hydrogen dispensers with an average hydrogen refueling speed of 2kg/min. Upon completion, it will meet the hydrogen refueling demand of 300 logistic vehicles of different tonnages and support Guangtai Hydrogen Energy’s cold-chain logistics operations in the Yangtze River Delta region.

The explosion-proof level of the station will reach IICT4, with excelling safety measures including automatic control of the hydrogenation process, hydrogen leak detection, alarm and shutdown to ensure worry-free operation, especially with environments of a temperature span from -20 to 55 degrees Celsius.

In 2020, SANY rolled out the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell mixer truck and dump truck in its Lighthouse factory in Shaoyang, marking the group’s first step into the “era of hydrogen.” In 2022, SANY established the first integrated station of hydrogen production and hydrogenation in Hunan Province, and delivered the first batch of hydrogen fuel cell heavy trucks to the city of Yueyang.

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