As the EU pushes for zero CO2 emissions from new cars by 2035, Sweden is set to create the world’s first permanent electrified road. The innovative project aims to enable cars and trucks to charge while driving, reducing wait times at charging stations and allowing for smaller batteries.
Sweden has been a pioneer in electrified roads, having conducted multiple pilot projects. Jan Pettersson, Director of Strategic Development at Trafikverket, believes that “the electrification solution is the way forward for decarbonizing the transport sector.”
The chosen motorway, European route E20, connects logistic hubs between Hallsberg and Örebro.
Charging Technologies Under Consideration
The project is in the procurement stage and is expected to be completed by 2025. Three charging technologies are being considered: the catenary system, inductive system, and conductive system.
The catenary system, suitable only for heavy-duty vehicles, uses overhead wires to provide electricity. The inductive charging system involves special equipment beneath the road that sends electricity to a coil in the vehicle.
Conductive charging works similarly to a wireless smartphone charger, with a pad or plate on the road that charges the vehicle wirelessly.
While the Electric Road System (ERS) primarily targets trucks, a recent study suggests that private cars could also benefit. The study simulated the movement patterns of 412 privately driven cars and found that combining home charging with dynamic charging could reduce battery size by up to 70%.
However, researchers note that ERS may not be suitable for all drivers, with those living closer to city centers potentially benefiting more from smaller batteries.
Read also: Almost 20% Of New Car Sales Now Electric
International Interest in ERS
Countries like Italy, the UK, the United States, and India are exploring ERS systems. Sweden, Germany, and France have partnered to share experiences and research on electric roads.
Germany and Sweden already have demonstration facilities on public roads, while France plans to procure a pilot section with an electric road. With the ambitious goal of expanding electric roads by 3,000 km by 2045, Sweden is leading the charge in creating a sustainable transport future.
As electric road systems (ERS) gain traction, other advancements and applications are emerging.
By enabling cars to charge while driving, ERS can help alleviate “range anxiety,” a common concern for electric vehicle (EV) drivers who worry about their vehicle’s battery life.
With ERS, EV users can travel longer distances without needing to stop at charging stations, making EVs more practical for long trips and increasing their overall appeal.
The future of public transit looks bright as cities around the world pursue a cleaner energy future by embracing ERS. Catenary systems, currently used for electric buses and trams, offer a sustainable solution to improve air quality in cities.
Electric roads could represent an exciting shift towards cleaner energy solutions – even if they do require a significant investment. Fortunately, government organizations and private investors appear to be interested in embracing this trend as we see more investment in research and development projects supporting ERS implementation.
The growing interest in ERS worldwide signals a shift towards more sustainable transportation systems.
ERS promises to play a critical role in decarbonizing the transport industry while balancing economic growth concerns.
Governments worldwide have already taken strides to develop these innovative solutions in partnership with private companies while committing resources towards research and development.
If successfully implemented at scale across nations globally, we can expect an enormous positive impact on our planet’s sustainability goals through a cleaner and greener future for all.