Travel Technology – A short stretch of road just outside the Stockholm Airport can recharge your electric car or truck when you drive over it. It’s in the test stage now, and if successful, this electric road could be a model for making it easier to own and drive EVs long distances.
The electrified rail is in the middle of the lane, and connects with a special arm that has to be added to the undercarriage of the vehicle.
It works like a giant slot car, or a vehicle version of how subways and light rail systems get power.
The first 1.2 miles (2km) of electrified road just opened is part of a government-led plan to electrify nearly 12,500 miles of streets and highways across the country.
The world’s first solar road opened recently in France, where a similar length of roadway has been paved with solar panels, to provide electricity to nearby homes and businesses. That’s also a test.
Less expensive than a light rail system
The $1 Million cost sounds expensive, but that’s substantially cheaper than building an urban tram line.
Hans Säll, chief executive of the eRoadArlanda consortium behind the project, said both current vehicles and roadways could be adapted to take advantage of the technology.
In Sweden there are roughly half a million kilometres of roadway, of which 20,000km are highways, Säll told the British newspaper The Guardian.
“If we electrify 20,000km of highways that will definitely be be enough,” he added. “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.”
According to the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, it means EV car batteries could be smaller, since they wouldn’t have to store as much charge, which would help cut battery and manufacturing costs.
The technology also would reduce “range anxiety”, by allowing drivers to drive longer distances between recharging.