Ever heard of induction cell phone chargers? Now highways will have this function, and Sweden will be the first to launch this technology of the future : electrified highway.
A huge progress
Already ahead of most countries in terms of automotive electrification, Sweden will launch the world’s first permanently electrified highway. This is planned for soon, very soon. We’re talking 2025 here. Yes, that’s less than two years away. This type of road, named ERS for Electric Road System, will allow to recharge while driving. No more breakdowns or stops at charging stations!
The highway chosen for this major change is the E20, which connects Gothenburg to Stockholm, and it will be the first part of a project to electrify more than 3,000 kilometers of roads. However, the technology used to make it all possible is still unknown.
Three possibilities for electrified highway
Sweden has already tested electrified roads, with three main solutions. In 2016, a two-kilometer road used overhead power lines to allow heavy vehicles to charge via pantographs of the same type used for an electric train. Then, a 1.6-kilometer road was electrified using coils positioned under the asphalt allowing for inductive charging. Finally, in 2018, a two-kilometer road with the world’s first charging rail on which electric trucks are fed using a mobile arm was completed.
Sweden will have to make a choice between these three options. In all cases, the vehicles must be adapted. The use of overhead power lines seems to be dedicated to trucks for the moment. An induction charging system, already tested in Germany and the United States, seems the most practical for private vehicles, but would require major roadworks.
The advantages of this future technology are considerable: the freeway is the least favorable type of road for electric cars because of its high average speed, which allows little energy recovery. Being able to slow down the discharge, maintain the charge, and even recharge while driving would make it possible to bypass this flaw. In addition, electric cars with low capacity batteries would have a much higher potential. As a result, market prices would decrease as well as the ecological cost of their production.
With information from Automobile Propre.