Swedish researchers are testing an electrified road located near Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.  Project success could mean electric vehicles in the future would need smaller batteries which would cut down the cost of EVs.  eRoadArlanda photo by Erik Mårtensson.

Electric road only 2 Km long, links Stockholm’s Arlanda airport to a nearby logistics site

Researchers are testing out an electric road in Sweden.  According to project backers, Vattenfall and Elways, the 2 Kilometre long roadway is showing promise and, if successful, could help cut the cost of electric vehicles.

The $USD5.82 million electric road project is called eRoadArlanda.  The tests are being carried out for one year, in varying road conditions, by a modified electric truck that carries cargo from Stockholm’s Arlanda international airport to Postnord’s nearby logistics hub.

An electrified rail is embedded in the tarmac of the roadway and charges the truck automatically as it travels the road.  A movable arm attached to the truck detects the location of the rail in the road and charging stops when the truck is passing or stopping.

Gunnar Asplund, Chief Executive of Elways says that the ability to charge while driving will mean electric cars will no longer need big batteries, which can be up to half the cost of EVs.  The electric road will also significantly reduce range anxiety for EV owners.

“The technology offers infinite range — range anxiety disappears” he said. “Electrified roads will allow smaller batteries and can make electric cars even cheaper than fossil fuel ones.”

So far, the biggest problem with the technology is dirt accumulating on the rail, but Asplund says the issue has now been resolved.

The funder for the project, the Swedish government, is pleased with the results of the patented technology so far.  A Swedish consortium backing the eRoadArlanda project includes infrastructure firm NCC and Vattenfall, a state-owned power company.

“Such roads will allow (electric vehicles) to move long distances without big, costly and heavy batteries,” said Vattenfall spokesman Markus Fischer.  He added that installing the arm in new cars would be cheaper than retrofitting current models.

According to Vattenfall, electrified roads could cut carbon dioxide emissions from big trucks, which account for about 25 per cent of total road traffic emissions.

“The investment cost per Kilometre is estimated to be less than that of using overhead lines, as is the impact on the landscape,” it added.

Testing of the system that calculates the energy consumption of the vehicle, allowing costs to be debited per vehicle and user, began in April and will last 12 months.