Sweden pilots first electric highway

The world’s first public electric highway will be officially launched today.

A 2km stretch of the E16 between Gävle and Sandviken in eastern Sweden has been rebuilt and for the next two years trucks will test out the effectiveness of the system in different weather conditions.

The £10.4m project has been funded by the government’s R&D agency Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and the Swedish Transport Administration, along with contributions from Siemens, Scania and other businesses.

electric highwaySeveral research projects will run during the course of the initiative around payment systems, business models, operation and maintenance and environmental impact.

Two of Scania’s new hybrid trucks will be used to test out the highway powered by electricity via overhead power lines above the roadway similar to those used for trolley buses and trams. A pantograph above the truck’s roof will feed the power to the electric motor and vehicles will be able to connect when changing lanes or overtaking. When trucks leave the 2km stretch they will revert to their hybrid diesel system.

Local authority Region Gävleborg, which is coordinating the project, said the aim is to ‘explore the possibilities in the future to replace parts of the heavy vehicle traffic with climate-friendly alternatives’.

A demonstration of the highway in operation will be broadcast live from 3pm today at www.regiongavleborg.se/elvag

Austin Macauley

Austin Macauley

Editor, Environment Journal

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