The electrified road will be used by electric trucks developed as part of the project. (Photo: eRoadArlanda)

Sweden unveils world's first road that recharges vehicles

The world's first road that will allow vehicles to be recharged while being driven has been launched in Sweden, according to a joint press release from eRoadArlanda and construction firm NCC on Wednesday (Apr 11). 

The road works by transferring energy to the vehicle from a rail in the road through a movable arm. 

According to the Guardian, the electrified road is divided into sections - each section measuring 50m. Every individual section is only powered when a vehicle is above it.

The current is disconnected when a vehicle stops. 

The system can also calculate a vehicle's energy consumption and charge the appropriate electricity costs to the vehicle's user.

The newly developed road aims to be a "sustainable and cost-effective" solution to allow "existing public roads to be electrified and help to create a future of fossil-free road transport".

This is largely in line with the Swedish government's target of "creating a fossil-free transportation infrastructure by 2030-2050", according to eRoadArlanda's website. 

The website also added that electrified-road transport can cut fossil emissions by 80 to 90 per cent.

"One of the most important issues of our time is the question of how to make fossil-free road transportation a reality," said chairman of the eRoadArlanda consortium and business development director at NCC Hans Sall. 

"Sweden is at the cutting edge of this technology, which we now hope to introduce in other areas of the country and the world."

The road will be used by electric trucks developed as part of the project, said the press release. 

About 2km of the electric rail has been installed in a public road near Stockholm, but there are plans in the pipelines for expansion.

Future plans to electrify 20,000km of Sweden's road is expected to cost 80 billion Swedish krona (US$9.5 billion).

"If we electrify 20,000km of highways that will definitely be be enough,” Sall told the Guardian. 

"The distance between two highways is never more than 45km and electric cars can already travel that distance without needing to be recharged. Some believe it would be enough to electrify 5,000km."

The cost of electrification is also said to cost €1 million (US$1.23 million) per kilometre and this is 50 times lower than the cost of building an urban tram line, said the Guardian.

In terms of safety, the conductor is buried in the road and cannot be accessed easily. The upper part of the rail is also earthed and will prevent anyone walking on the road from receiving a jolt, according to the eRoadArlanda website.

Some other safety measures include safety circuits that will indicate any faults and signs indicating that the road is currently electrified.  

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