Sweden Opens World’s First Stretch of Electrified Road

A small stretch of electric rail is all that sets apart a road near Swedish capital Stockholm from all the other roads in the world. And that small stretch of electric rail might mark the beginning of a new era in transportation.
eRoadArlanda truck driving on the electrified road 1 photo
Photo: eRoadArlanda
The 1.2 miles of electrified road (2 km) is not exactly meant to charge electric vehicle via some sort of inductive technology, but to provide power to certain types of vehicles as they move along the track.

The track in itself consists of a metal rail, connected to the public power grid. It is built in such way it can detect when a vehicle moves along them and only activates at those times. The track is also fitted with various detection means, which allows it to identify the user that draws power from it.

To be able to take power from the rail, the vehicles have to be equipped with a contact arm, attached to the bottom of the vehicle. When the car detects it is over the rail, it moves into position by making contact with the metal. It then pulls back up when the driver wants to pass someone in front.

The entire system is, if you like, the reverse of what you get from an European trolleybuse, which draws power from an overhead power line via a couple of contact arms, like a tram.

The idea of having electrified roads is not new, but most futurists talking about them are envisioning a road that can charge and power cars without having to add extra equipment and weight to the cars.

In Sweden, plans are that this conductive charging technology be expanded to a nationwide level, should the test currently being conducted in Stockholm prove successful.

The Swedish plan for a network of electrified roads is led by the eRoadArlanda project, which advocates this approach on the fact that it can make use of the existing road network, hence less money spent on infrastructure.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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