A new approach to the challenges of recharging electric vehicles is rapidly evolving in Sweden – where a 1.5 km electrified road has been developed.
The road, opened on the outskirts of Stockholm, has been designed to transfer energy to specially designed cars and trucks from an electrified track in the road’s surface.
A connection to the underneath of the vehicle is made by a movable arm, which detects when the rail is near and lowers to begin charging.
The eRoadArlanda consortium, which includes vehicle manufacturer DAF, has designed the road.
The new system is said to be cheaper than overhead charging roads and the first time a track-based charging system has been installed on a public road.
“As far as we know, it’s the most cost-efficient electric road technology so far,” said Hans Säll, chairman of the eRoadArlanda.
The track, installed on a road close to Stockholm’s Arlanda airport, allows a fleet of lorries, which were developed for the project and are the first fully-electric powered trucks in Sweden, to operate on the stretch.
He said the system can be installed in the existing infrastructure, and works for both passenger cars and heavy vehicles.
As the trucks move down the road, 50m lengths of track are electrified to charge the vehicles. The amount of electricity used by each truck is tracked and charged to the user or owner.
Charging vehicles as they move, as opposed to while they are stationary, has several advantages, said Säll. “It will make it possible to have smaller instead of bigger batteries, which will lower battery cost and their negative impact from a sustainability point of view.
“It will also decrease the cost and space needed for stationary charging stations along our highways.”
With the Swedish government financing 70 percent of the project’s costs, it is now evaluating the potential of developing more electric roads across the country.