The world´s first electric road was inaugurated near the city of Gävle in central Sweden last summer, the result of a unique partnership demonstrating the path towards fossil-free transportation. Scania is supplying with the electrically-powered trucks, which will operate under real traffic conditions.
Swedish truck OEM Scania (which is owned by Germany’s Volkswagen) is working with German technology-development firm Siemens to develop a new concept in commercial vehicle operation.
Sweden has thus become the first country to build an electric highway, creating a short 1.2 mile (2 kilometer) stretch of road that powers hybrid and electric trucks in real-world traffic conditions.
The strip on the electric road E16 features a dedicated hybrid truck lane with a Siemens conductive system with overhead electrical wires, very much like the systems commonly used on mass-transit street cars, buses and trains today.
The beauty of the new technology, which is the result of several years of cooperation between the Swedish Government and the private sector, is that the trucks while driving on the electric highway are completely powered by electricity and produce zero emissions, at least not directly. The trucks switch back to diesel once they leave the stretch of highway. Siemens claims that using the electric highway doubles fuel efficiency over standard combustion engines. All the Scania trucks on the road are hybrid and Euro 6-certified, running on biofuel.
Scania said the E16 project is a key component in achieving Sweden’s ambition of an energy-efficient and fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030. It can also help to strengthen Sweden’s competitiveness in the rapidly developing area of sustainable transport.
The truck receives electrical power from a pantograph power collector that is mounted on the frame behind its cab. The pantographs are in turn connected to overhead power lines that are above the right-hand lane of the road, and the trucks can freely connect to and disconnect from the overhead wires while in motion.
Electric Road E16 is being funded in part by the Swedish government, which has invested approximately $88 million, with an additional $50 million coming from private businesses and the Gävleborg regional authority in Sweden where the electric road is located.
The electric road is only one of several pioneering technologies that Scania is working on to help the spread of sustainable solutions within both urban and long-haul transport. The company is also developing technologies for alternative fuels, hybridized and fully-electric vehicles, and autonomously and wirelessly-connected transport in parallel with its work to further enhance and refine the products of the future.
The eHighway is part of a two-year trial in Sweden, started June 2017, and Siemens is also building a trial eHighway in California in partnership with Volvo.
Electric Highway in Sweden, written by Tor Kjolberg