The world’s first electrified road that recharges the batteries of cars and trucks driving on it has been opened in Sweden.
The 2km stretch is capable of recharging the batteries of vehicles driving on it – setting Sweden on the way to achieving its target of banishing fossil fuels by 2030.
This electrified road is Sweden’s proof-of-concept, aiming to show that e-vehicles can be used conveniently over long distances. Once expanded to other key infrastructure lines, such as highways and main roadways, the roads will ensure Swedes can charge their electric vehicles wherever they are – and ensure a smooth transition from combustion engines to electronic ones for residents and industry.
The road – linking the capital’s Arlanda airport to a logistics site – works through two tracks of rail, through which energy is transferred via a movable arm attached to the underside of a vehicle, almost like a Scalextric track.
Should a vehicle overtake, however, the arm becomes disconnected.
“There is no electricity on the surface,” Hans Säll, chief executive of eRoadArlanda, the consortium behind the project, explained to The Guardian.
“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 jolt. You could walk on it barefoot.”
Each new kilometre of electrified road currently costs roughly €1 million (around £880,000) to install. This is roughly 50 times cheaper than installing an overhead tram line over the same distance.
National grids are increasingly moving away from coal and oil and battery storage is seen as crucial to a changing the source of the energy used in transportation.
Hans Säll said: “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.”
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