The “E-20” highway stretch in Sweden will soon become the nation’s first functioning charging road to juice the batteries of heavy vehicles carrying freight around the nation.
E-20, (the E actually stands for Europe, rather than electric) runs between Hallsberg and Örebro in the middle of the country’s three major cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.
Construction is slated to begin in 2025 along a whopping 21 kilometers of road (13 miles), but it hasn’t been decided which method of charging will be used. Previously-constructed charging roads in Europe have used methods that require outside equipment—overhead wires like a city tram line or undercarriage-mounted arms that attach to an electrified rail along the roadway.
These are highly impractical for regular motorists, who can neither reach the cables nor afford to mount a robotic arm on their car.
The last option, and the only sensible one for cars as well as trucks, is to build wireless charging infrastructure down the center of the lanes that send out an electromagnetic signal to a coil on the underside of the vehicle small enough to be fitted to a sedan or a tractor-trailer.
In any case, in order to conduct long-haul trucking in the larger European countries, there has to be sensible charging infrastructure to prevent the trucks from becoming overloaded with the battery packs necessary to drive long distances.
“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.
Euronews cited a recent study which found that 412 privately driven cars on parts of Swedish national and European roads could have their battery capacity reduced by more than 50% through a combination of access to electrified roads and home charging.
Furthermore, only 25% of all roads would need to be electrified for the system to work.
GNN has closely followed charging road developments. In 2021, GNN reported that the Indiana Department of Transportation built a wireless charging road designed by the German firm Magment.
In Michigan a year later, Governor Gretchin Witmer announced a 1-mile stretch of road in Detroit would be electrifed—and she contracted the same company that built Sweden’s first wireless charging road pilot program on the Island city of Visby.
Germany, Israel, and Italy have all implemented similar projects.
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