Overhead charging

Overview of the status and impact of the innovation



Overhead charging (also known as a pantograph) is already widely used for trams and trains. It reduces the need to plug in and unplug and can safely provide AC or faster DC power.

Overhead charging has the advantage of being able to supply power to multiple vehicles, of being easily scalable and of not requiring vehicles to stop for charging. Vehicles may also be equipped with batteries or ultra-capacitors, which allow them to travel outside the overhead charging network (Siemens, 2021). However, it requires high investments and is less flexible than other methods.


Overhead charging enables dynamic charging, which helps reduce peak loads on the grid. En route charging also enables vehicles to have smaller batteries, leading to higher overall energy efficiencies, lighter vehicles and lower vehicle costs.