The first road of its kind to allow both commercial and passenger vehicles to be recharged while driving was inaugurated in Sweden last week.
Sweden has unveiled a new 1.2 miles (2 km) stretch of road near Stockholm which allows, for the first time, cars and trucks to charge their batteries while driving.
An electric rail has been installed in the road between the Arlanda Cargo Terminal and the Rosersberg logistics area near Stockholm. The system works much like toy electric slot cars work. The electrification works by connecting the chassis of the cars to the ground rail via a moveable arm. Electricity is transferred from the charged part of the road to the car’s battery, keeping electric vehicles topped up with enough energy. The arm detects the location of the rail in the road and as long as the vehicle is above the rail, the contact will be in a lowered position. The arm can easily be disconnected to help cars overtake as well.
The only time the tracks are electrified is when the electric vehicle's contact arm touches them, eliminating the danger of a live track such as those on subways. Sensors on the car tell the car when to drop the contact arm down to draw power from the road and when to recline to let the car's battery take over.
The eRoadArlanda project is being managed by a consortium of 22 companies, comprised of the following members: Elways, NCC, PostNord (Sweden’s national postal service), ABTbolagen, Vattenfall, DAF, KTH, Kilenkrysset, VTI, E-traction, GCT, KTH, Bilprovningen, Airport City Stockholm, Sigtuna Municipality, Swedavia, Arlanda Stad Holding, TraningPartner, FirstHotel, Frost Produktion, SMM Dulevo and Sandströms Elfirma.
At the inauguration ceremony last week, the Director-General for the Swedish Transport Administration, Lena Erixon, commented: “It is important to break new ground when it comes to climate-smart road transport. That’s why the Swedish Transport Administration supports innovative development projects that contribute to long-term, sustainable solutions.”
Hans Säll, Chairman of the eRoadArlanda group concluded: “One of the most important issues of our time is the question of how to make fossil-free road transportation a reality. We now have a solution that will make this possible, which is amazing. Sweden is at the cutting edge of this technology, which we now hope to introduce in other areas of the country and the world.”
The test track is located on a ten-kilometer section of Road 893 between Arlanda Cargo Terminal and the Rosersberg logistics area, of which two kilometers are electrified for the demonstration project. The vehicle primarily planned to use the electrified road is an 18-ton truck that will be carrying goods for PostNord.
It is hoped that the trial road could be used to electrify Sweden’s 20,000 kilometres of highways and exported to help other countries wean themselves off fossil fueled transportation. At an estimated cost of €1 million per kilometre the rail technology is seen as a much cheaper alternative to urban trams.
In June 2016, a similar type road was opened near the city of Gävle in central Sweden, but utilized overhead lines connected to vehicles, much like trams are connected to overhead power cables. The two-kilometre strip on the E16 motorway saw electrified trucks from Scania driven in open traffic, using conductive technology developed by Siemens.