Sweden opens ‘globally unique’ electrified road

Sweden has unveiled a new stretch of road which allows, for the first time, cars and trucks to charge their batteries while driving.

1.2 miles (2km) of electric rail has been installed between an airport cargo terminal and a logistics depot near Stockholm. The road works by hooking up cars to the ground rail via a moveable arm, much in the same way that trams are connected to overhead power cables.

Electricity is transferred from the charged part of the road to the car’s battery, helping to solve the issue of keeping electric vehicles topped up with enough energy. The arm can easily be disconnected to help cars overtake as well.

The project has been pioneered by eRoadArlanda, a consortium of 22 companies including Sweden’s national postal service, PostNord, and energy giant Vattenfall.

It is estimated that the innovation can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent and could help Sweden meet its target to significantly decarbonise its transport sector. The government has a target of reducing carbon emissions by 70 percent in the sector by 2030.

At the inauguration ceremony this week, the Director-General for the Swedish Transport Administration, Lena Erixon, commented: “It is important to break new ground when it comes to climate-smart road transport. That’s why the Swedish Transport Administration supports innovative development projects that contribute to long-term, sustainable solutions.”

It is hoped that the trial road could be used to electrify Sweden’s 20,000km of highways and exported to help other countries wean themselves off fossil fuelled transportation. At an estimated cost of €1 million per kilometre the rail technology is seen as a much cheaper alternative to urban trams.   

Hans Säll, Chairman of the eRoadArlanda group concluded: “One of the most important issues of our time is the question of how to make fossil-free road transportation a reality. We now have a solution that will make this possible, which is amazing. Sweden is at the cutting edge of this technology, which we now hope to introduce in other areas of the country and the world.”

News published on Climate Action Programme
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