CORPUS Magazine

Electrified Roads

Aiming to dispense with fossil fuels in the transportation sector by 2030, Sweden is investigating novel infrastructure options. Its most recent project is “eRoadArlanda”, an electrified road that powers up electric cars and does without overhead lines. Measuring almost 2 km, the recently opened section is part of public road 893 linking Arlanda Cargo Terminal with the Rosersberg logistics district outside Stockholm. To access power from a contact rail, vehicles have to be equipped with the charging electronics, battery, and a movable charging arm. This arm not only automatically detects and hooks up to the charging area but also disengages automatically, e.g. during overtaking maneuvers. The technology can be quickly integrated in existing roads, so equipping them poses no threat of prolonged obstruction. The fully automatic power rail can be subdivided into sections that only carry power during usage. Since the system is also capable of monitoring the vehicle’s power take-up at the same time, it can calculate and allocate the costs. “eRoadArlanda” is supported by 23 partners, including truck manufacturers DAF and the energy corporation Vattenfall, who are pursuing the goal of making transportation without fossil fuels possible in other parts of Sweden and the world – the Swedish Road Transportation Department has already drawn up a national plan for the introduction of the system.Research into intelligent infrastructure is also being carried out in other parts of the world. In China, a road has been developed with integrated sensors and solar modules supplying some 800 households and some of the street lighting with electricity. In the city of Jinan between Beijing and Shanghai, a roughly 1 km stretch of road has been equipped with the technology. The solar modules are protected by a thin layer of translucent concrete and plastic which is easily penetrated by sunlight. Some 45,000 vehicles use the section of road daily – as the next step, the developers want to create an induction system capable of charging car batteries like in Sweden. While the solar road is currently too expensive to be launched nationwide, research into the streets of tomorrow continues.

Last Update 10 December 2018