The Swedish transport authority Trafikverket plans to electrify part of the E20 road route. It is namely the 21-kilometer route from Hallsberg to Örebro, located between the country’s two largest cities, Stockholm and Gothenburg. If you get tired during your trip you can rest and chill at the Swedish motels and test your luck by playing the Vave Casino.
The new system will allow both electric vehicles and trucks to charge on the go, reducing the need for charging stations. Now the project is at the stage of procurement and final planning. Its completion is scheduled for 2025-2026.
In order to run electric cars on roads, the road infrastructure needs to be updated. There are certain road elements that need to be taken into account when constructing roads for electric cars. Firstly, it is essential to ensure that the roads have enough room for the wider tires used in electric cars, as well as for the extra weight of the battery. Secondly, the roads must be re-surfaced to ensure adequate grip. Thirdly, the roads should have smooth curves and flat surfaces in order to reduce the risk of skidding. Finally, it is also important to provide adequate lighting along the routes so that electric cars can be seen in the dark.
How Will It Work?
Trafikverket has not yet chosen a technology for the electric road system. There are three options.
Air conductive. Energy is transferred from overhead wires to the car through a pantograph. The same way trams work. The technology is suitable only for heavy vehicles, the height of which allows them to “reach out” to power lines.
Ground Conducted. Energy is transmitted along special rails or tracks located under or on the road. Cars are charged using a mechanical lever or a stick that touches the rails.
Ground Inductive. Energy comes from coils built into the road.
Why Electric Roads
Since 2016, Trafikverket has successfully tested all three technologies in various parts of Sweden, including Lund, Gotland, and Sandviken.
The focus has been on trucks and buses, and for good reason. According to the study, by 2030 the electrification of the road network connecting the largest cities of the country will reduce emissions from heavy vehicles by 1.2 million tons.
In 2018, Sweden began testing a charging road for commercial and passenger electric vehicles, as well as a 2 km route between Stockholm-Arlanda Airport and the logistics area in Rosenberg.
By 2020, the government plans to launch a 2,000 km public electric road system. In the same year, it proposes to ban new fossil fuel vehicles. Whether this strategy will be effective is debatable.
On the one hand, this will allow electric vehicles to visit charging stations less often. It will speed up their adoption and reduce carbon emissions.
A recent study by Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg found that electric roads will reduce the load on the electricity grid during peak hours. It is providing an alternative to charging at home. The team also suggested that a combination of home charging (static) and charging on the go (dynamic) would reduce battery size by up to 70%. So they will require fewer materials, and the electric car can become cheaper for the consumer.
There is also an important counterargument. This nascent type of infrastructure requires high investment and maintenance costs. And in the long run, may become obsolete as battery development accelerates.
However, the results of the study suggest that the risk is not very high. The team estimates that only 25% of the roads in Sweden and Europe will need to be electrified for the system to work.
The technology is also being tested in other European countries, including Italy, France, Germany, and the UK. Moreover, Europe’s transport systems are interconnected. It will make the electric road system viable.
The biggest issue will be about the logistics matters. Today, the latest truck in Europe that produces less CO2 is Euro6. European policymakers logistics companies buy more green fuel. Unfortunately, not many countries today can produce such fuel. Besides, with the recent losses in economics, the green policy has slowed down. Yet, it is also hard to imagine the largest companies like Girteka or Vlantana using electrical trucks.
Another interesting issue is road repairs. As many know Germany has the best roads in Europe and the largest traffic bans. They are caused by the 24/7 repairings on them. That makes the logistics work less efficiently.
Such issues can simply destroy the green plan. Yet, the idea of creating a road for electric cars is amazing.