Sweden is planning to permanently electrify more than 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometres) of highway by 2025, a world first that will allow electric vehicles to recharge while they’re in motion and could point toward a two-thirds reduction in the size of EV batteries.
The test section along the E20, the highway that connects Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö, is part of a larger plan that will eventually cover more than 3,000 kilometres of roadway, Carscoops reports.
Road operators are still deciding what type of electric motorway to install after looking at three different options in smaller trials: a two-kilometre stretch in Gävle, central Sweden, that used overhead wires suitable for heavy vehicles; a 1.6-kilometre span in Gotland where charge coils were installed under the asphalt; and a two-kilometre charging rail installed by Trafikverket, the Swedish Transport Administration, that allowed electric trucks to charge up by lowering a moving arm.
Electrek cites a fourth temporary trial, a 21-kilometre stretch near Lund that will soon be made permanent.
“While the use of overhead power lines is exclusively for trucks, there could be some advantages for those who own private cars if an inductive under-road charging system is implemented,” Carscoops writes. “This tech works much like Qi wireless charging in mobile phones. A pad or plate is embedded under the road, and electric vehicles that are equipped with a receiving coil are recharged as they pass over it.”
Germany and Michigan have been working with similar technology, Carscoops says.
A study by researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology, released in March, suggested “that a combination of electric roads on 25% of the busiest national and European roads and EV home charging would be optimal for the transition to EVs,” Electrek writes. “If that happened, then the batteries in EVs could be made ‘significantly smaller, at best only one-third of the current size’.”
“‘EV Charging Lane 2 Miles ahead. $1.17 per kWh. EZ Pass Required,’” commented one Electrek reader. “I can see that happening. It can become a legitimate (though premium) complement to a far-future charging mix of: conventional plugin charging, swappable batteries, ubiquitous street parking, wireless charging, and fuel-cell chargers. Perhaps in the year 2050.”