Sweden just opened the world’s first electrified road just outside of Stockholm! Roughly 2km of electrical rails, embedded in a public road, will recharge the batteries of electric vehicles while they drive. And the country is not stopping there. The government’s road agency already has plans for future expansion. In order to achieve independence from fossil fuels by 2030, they have to reduce transportation that relies on it by 70%. Their goal is to tackle the issue of keeping electric vehicles charged while making battery manufacturing more affordable. Sweden is certainly paving the way when it comes to transportation. They’re even in talks with Berlin about a future network of electrified roads.
So how does it work?
The electrified road is divided up into 50m sections. For energy to transfer, a movable arm attached to the bottom of the vehicle connects to two electrified rails. However, the road is only powered when a vehicle is driving above. The current is disconnected when a vehicle stops. If the vehicle overtakes the rails, the arm is also disconnected. Because the system calculates the individual energy consumption of each vehicle, electricity costs are “debited per vehicle and user”, according to this Guardian article.
Rather than using roadside charging stations, this “dynamic charging” system will help make vehicle batteries smaller thereby lowering manufacturing costs. The system also reduces carbon dioxide emissions by up to 90%! With a cost of €1 million per kilometre, it is likely 50 times cheaper to build than an urban tram line.