Power track Swedish road recharges ve­hi­cles

The Guardian Weekly - - International News - Daniel Bof­fey

The world’s first elec­tri­fied road that recharges the bat­ter­ies of cars and trucks driv­ing on it has been opened in Swe­den.

About 2km of elec­tric rail has been em­bed­ded in a pub­lic road near Stock­holm, but the gov­ern­ment’s roads agency has al­ready drafted a na­tional map for fu­ture ex­pan­sion. Swe­den’s tar­get of achiev­ing in­de­pen­dence from fos­sil fuel by 2030 re­quires a 70% re­duc­tion in the trans­port sec­tor.

The tech­nol­ogy be­hind the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion of the road link­ing Stock­holm Ar­landa air­port to a lo­gis­tics site out­side the cap­i­tal aims to solve the thorny prob­lems of keep­ing elec­tric ve­hi­cles charged, and the man­u­fac­ture of their bat­ter­ies af­ford­able. En­ergy is trans­ferred from two tracks of rail in the road via a mov­able arm at­tached to the bot­tom of a ve­hi­cle. The de­sign is not dis­sim­i­lar to that of a Scalex­tric track, al­though should the ve­hi­cle over­take, the arm is au­to­mat­i­cally dis­con­nected.

The elec­tri­fied road is di­vided into 50m sec­tions, with an in­di­vid­ual sec­tion pow­ered only when a ve­hi­cle is above it. When a ve­hi­cle stops, the cur­rent is dis­con­nected. The sys­tem is able to cal­cu­late the ve­hi­cle’s en­ergy con­sump­tion, which en­ables elec­tric­ity costs to be deb­ited per ve­hi­cle and user.

The “dy­namic charg­ing” – as op­posed to the use of road­side charg­ing posts – means the ve­hi­cle’s bat­ter­ies can be smaller, along with their man­u­fac­tur­ing costs.

Photo: eRoad­Ar­landa

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