The world's first electrified road for charging cars and other vehicles has been opened in Sweden. Situated near Stockholm, the project was initiated in the wake of Sweden becoming non-dependent on fossil fuels from 2030.
The road connects the Stockholm Arlanda airport to a logistics centre nearby, called PostNord. As of now, the construction spans just 2km. The road is separated into 50m sections; each of which is powered only when a vehicle moves over it.
When the vehicle stops moving, the charging process ends. The amount of energy consumption is then calculated and added to the user's monthly electricity bill. The 'dynamic charging' process is more convenient than normal roadside-charging. If widely implemented, this allows for the usage of smaller battery-packs.
The setup is embedded in a normal road and is aimed for expansion in the future. Through the project, the Swedish government aims to cut down air pollution by a huge margin. As per data, 70% of that pollution is caused by vehicles.
The system works by the use of two rail tracks carrying energy. A movable arm connects them to the bottom of the vehicle. The system functions similar to a slot-car racing toy. But the main difference is that the connection is automatically disconnected, should the vehicle overtake.
The entire project is handled by eRoadArlanda group. Its Chief Executive, Hans Säll shared that the innovation can help cut down the cost of development of electric vehicles, and can also help hybrids to get better range.
He also added, "If we electrify 20,000km of highways that will definitely be enough. 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."
Hans said: "There is no electricity on the surface. There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall. Five or six centimetres down is where the electricity is. But if you flood the road with salt water then we have found that the electricity level at the surface is just one volt. You could walk on it barefoot."
Though it costs one million euros to construct one kilometre of the project, the cost of construction is still almost 50 times lower than a conventional tram line. This makes the project ideal for highways.
Since the conductor is buried and earthed efficiency, there are no risk factors involved either. The system is primarily aimed at electric trucks, something still not common. You might be interested to read about the Tesla Semi - The First Mass-Production Electric Truck.
Thoughts On The World's First Electrified Road In Sweden
The automotive world, like it or not, is slowly aiming towards being fully-electric. India is also aiming to shift to electric transport by 2030; although not having started any major projects such as this. Sweden's electrified road project can surely help reduce the maintenance costs of EVs. The absence of any risks also adds to the project's efficiency.
Picture Credit: eRoadArlanda