With the latest EU legislation mandating cars to deliver zero CO2 emissions from 2035, European countries are rushing to prepare the infrastructure needed for electric vehicles (EV) mobility. Sweden is aptly maintaining its progressive reputation on sustainability standards and the uptake of renewable energy.
1. Permanent electric roads
After several pilot projects, Sweden unveiled plans to build permanent electric roads in the country. Swedish Transport Administration, Trafikverket, has chosen motorway European route E20, spanning 21 kilometers and connecting logistic hubs between Hallsberg and Örebro, located in the middle of the country’s three major cities — Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. The electric road system (ERS) is currently in the procurement and final planning stage, expected to be completed and made accessible to the public by 2025/2026.
We think the electrification solution is the way forward for decarbonising the transport sector and we are working with a number of solutions.Jan Pettersson, Director of Strategic Development at Trafikverket, the Swedish transport administration for Euronews.
2. How does it work?
The charging method for E20 hasn’t been decided but there are three types of charging: catenary system, conductive (ground-based) system, and inductive system. According to Trafikverket, the motorway could be equipped with overhead power lines that can power a car similar to a tram or electric rails that transmit energy to the EV through a conductive pickup underneath the vehicle. Another option is an inductive system in which electromagnetic coils that are embedded in the road pass a charge into the battery.
3. Pilot projects
Several pilot projects led by Trafikverket have tested the feasibility and effectiveness of the technology in Sweden. One notable project is the eRoadArlanda, located near Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport, which involves a 2 kilometer stretch of road where EVs equipped with a collector could charge while driving. Another pilot project, called Smartroad Gotland, explored the use of inductive charging technology on a road section of about 1.6 kilometers on the island of Gotland. The electrification of the road network connecting major cities is estimated to reduce emissions from heavy-duty vehicles by 1.2 million tonnes by 2030.
4. Limitless EVs
Electric roads aim to address the limitations of EVs, such as limited battery range and the need for frequent charging infrastructure. The concept involves embedding electric charging infrastructure directly into the road surface, allowing vehicles to charge while driving. This technology could potentially extend the range of electric vehicles and reduce the need for traditional charging stations. With plans to have an expansion of a further 3,000 km of electric road by 2045, Sweden has partnered with Germany and France to exchange experience through authority and research collaborations on electric roads.