Sweden has taken a bold step towards sustainable transportation, as it plans to turn a highway into a permanent electrified road. The initiative is set to make the European route E20 the first of its kind in the world, and is likely to pave the way for a further 3,000 km of electric roads across the country by 2045.
The electrified road will allow cars and trucks to recharge while driving, thanks to dynamic charging technology. This means that vehicles will be able to travel longer distances with smaller batteries, while avoiding the need to wait at charging stations. Experts have deemed this an efficient and practical solution for decarbonising the transportation sector.
The project is currently at the procurement stage, with construction set to begin in 2025. While the specific charging method for the E20 has not yet been determined, there are three potential options: the catenary system, inductive system, and conductive system. The catenary system is only suitable for heavy-duty vehicles, as it requires overhead wires to provide electricity to a special type of bus or tram.
Sweden has pioneered electrified roads through several pilot projects, including the world’s first temporary electric road. The country is committed to finding sustainable transportation solutions, and sees electrification as the way forward for decarbonising the sector.
While much of the Electric Road System (ERS) focuses on trucks, recent studies suggest that private cars could also benefit. A simulation of 412 privately driven cars found that combining home charging with dynamic charging could reduce battery size by up to 70%. Researchers behind the study also suggest that electrifying 25% of all roads in Sweden would be sufficient for the system to work.
Sweden has partnered with Germany and France to exchange experience through authority and research collaborations on electric roads. The initiative is likely to be a game-changer for the transportation sector, and many other countries, including Italy, the UK, the United States, and India, are also doubling down on building ERS systems.
As the European Union passes a landmark law requiring all new cars sold to have zero CO2 emissions from 2035, it is clear that sustainable transportation is the way forward. Sweden’s electrified road initiative is just one of many innovative solutions that countries must adopt to create a greener future.