Electric rails in the road transfer energy to any vehicle travelling along them
The first stretch of electrified road has been built in Sweden – it allows cars to charge themselves as they move along them.
The stretch of road is 2km long and runs from Stockholm Airport to a logistics site. It’s hoped that this will be just the start in electrifying 20,000km of highways in the country.
The aim of the technology is to try and solve one of the biggest issues associated with electric cars – the best way of keeping them charged over long journeys.
Two rail tracks are embedded in the road and transfer energy to the car via an arm attached underneath the vehicle, resembling the ones used on electric trams or trains.
Once the car changes lane the arm is disconnected and reconnects to another electrified line.
The energy a car uses is observed to work out how much to bill a driver for their consumption, just like motorists having to pay when using a petrol station to fill up with fuel.
By allowing a car to charge its batteries whilst on the move means they could be smaller and cheaper as they would no longer have to travel as far without charging.
There’s a total of 500,000km of roadway in Sweden, however only the highways would need to be electrified as cars never have to travel more than 45km to get to one.
The stretch of electrified road was built by eRoadArlanda and according to their chief executive Hans Säll, existing roads and vehicles could be converted to use the technology.
“There is no electricity on the surface. There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall. Five or six centimetres down is where the electricity is,” said Mr Säll, adding: “But if you flood the road with salt water then we have found that the electricity level at the surface is just one volt. You could walk on it barefoot.”
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