There have been various efforts around the globe to develop a road system capable of charging electric vehicles as they drive. Now, Sweden will begin testing its own version of a charge-capable road on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.
The Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket) announced a consortium called Smart Road Gotland will lead the effort to establish a 1-mile stretch of test road from Gotland’s Visby airport to the island’s city center. The goal is to provide real-world research on the viability of transferring electric power to vehicles dynamically – that is, as they move on the road performing their normal daily tasks.
The project will use technology developed by an Israeli company called Electreon AB to develop the stretch of test roadway, aimed at inductively charging an electric truck and bus on the move. The plan is to deploy a fully functional public shuttle service and testbed along a 1-mile stretch of charging-capable road as part of a total route of 2.5 miles linking the airport and downtown Gotland.
Electreon is a developer of dynamic wireless power transfer (DWPT) technology. The system uses electric coils placed 3 inches under a road surface. The coils are dormant until a suitably equipped electric vehicle passes over them. When this occurs, the coils transmit electricity to receivers on the vehicle to boost its onboard battery charge.
A typical passenger car will have one of the 27-pound receiver units, while heavier vehicles such as trucks and buses can carry more units to keep battery levels charged up.
Electreon says its system has significant benefits for long-haul heavy trucks, since it eliminates the need for heavy, space-consuming battery systems and the need to stop the vehicle for long recharging periods.
“The Swedish Transport Administration believes that electric roads are an important contribution to reducing CO2 emissions from heavy transportation,” said Jan Pettersson, program manager, Trafikverket. “Demonstrating and evaluating new technical solutions for electric routes is one of our most important steps in our long-term plan for a potential rollout of electrified routes on the heavy road network in Sweden.”
The overall vision for the project, Electreon says, is to leverage green energy assets such as wind, thermal, solar, kinetic and hydraulic energy to provide limitless sustainable power to vehicles through smart infrastructure development.