Sweden is set to become the first country to implement a functioning charging road for heavy electric vehicles (EVs).
The E-20 is set to be a 21-kilometre stretch, running between Hallsberg and Örebro, with inbuilt charging infrastructure for heavy EVs such as freight and haulage trucks. This innovative move will set the precedent for decarbonised logistics around the world. While construction will begin in 2025, which method of charging will be used has not yet been confirmed.
We have seen charging roads in Europe over the past few years. These electric highways have trialled several interesting methods of charging on the go, such as overhead wires feeding to mounted arms on the EV, like an inner-city tram network. We’ve also seen ambitious trials of electrified rails running down the centre of the road, think Scalextrics.
Both of these methods proved to be impractical for regular motorists and could pose dangers to other drivers. That leaves one probable option for the E-20 electric highway; to build wireless charging infrastructure down the centre of the lanes that send out an electromagnetic signal to a coil on the underside of the vehicle, similar to the latest wireless mobile phone charging technology.
“If you are going to have only static charging full battery solution for heavy-duty vehicles, you will get vehicles with a huge amount of batteries that the vehicles need to carry,” said Jan Pettersson, Director of Strategic Development at Trafikverket, the Swedish transport administration.
A recent study found that only 25% of all roads need to be electrified for the public charging system to work. Sweden already plans to electrify a further 1,900 miles of roads by 2045 and will be sharing their findings with Germany and France to learn from each other’s experiences.
Similar charging road projects have already been implemented in the US, Israel, and Italy.
With the rapid development of wireless charging technology, and an evident willingness to adopt the idea in regions around the world, could we be looking at a future where EV drivers don’t need to think twice about charging?