World Premiere: Sweden just built the world's first electric road

World Premiere: Sweden just built the world's first electric road

In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Sweden has decided to innovate by opening Wednesday an electrified road, the “world’s first”, according to its promoters. Equipped with a conduction rail, this route allows the vehicle’s battery to recharge in motion.The electrified road works by transferring energy from the rail through a moveable arm on the bottom of an electric car or truck.As the vehicle moves over the rail, the arm detects its location and moves into contact with it. When overtaking, the arm automatically raises.

Called eRoadArlanda, this stretch is two kilometers long and is located on a secondary network route connecting a freight terminal at Stockholm Arlanda International Airport and a logistics center.

As a first step, only fully electric trucks from PostNord, a Swedish postal service company, will be equipped to use this route.

It works by transferring energy by means of a removable arm placed under the vehicle. The latter lowers to make contact with the rail, which is placed in the middle of the road. In case of overtaking or accident, this contact between the arm and the rail is automatically lifted.

Most of these tests use electromagnetic induction technology. Electricity, which is drawn in, is then used to propel the vehicle or to be stored in batteries.

With this project, Sweden wants to become one of the pioneers in sustainable development. By 2030, the Nordic country intends to be “one of the first developed countries without fossil energy” in transport, according to the Swedish Minister of Infrastructure, Tomas Eneroth.

“Everyone realizes that we are in a situation where climate change is imposing new demands on our policies and our development, this project is a way to find solutions,” he said

Hans Säll, chief executive of the eRoadArlanda consortium behind the project, said both current vehicles and roadways could be adapted to take advantage of the technology.

In Sweden there are roughly half a million kilometres of roadway, of which 20,000km are highways, Säll said.

“If we electrify 20,000km of highways that will definitely be be enough,” he added. “The distance between two highways is never more than 45km and electric cars can already travel that distance without needing to be recharged. Some believe it would be enough to electrify 5,000km.”

In Sweden, road transport currently accounts for more than 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to official figures. Several companies are also trying to launch similar initiatives.

Alstom, a French firm, is currently testing, with the help of the Swedish Energy Agency and Volvo Group, Göteborg, another ground-based power supply system, drawing on the technology used in trams.

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