Trucks can now drive on the world’s first electric road

Sweden is now home to the world´s first electric highway, which is being inaugurated near the city of Gävle in an attempt to reach a more fossil-free method of transportation.

The 1.2-mile strip of road on the E16 motorway will now be home to electrified trucks, supplied by Scania, that will be driven in open traffic using conductive technology developed by Siemens.

Hybrid Truck with Siemens pantograph on the roof. Gävle, Sweden (Image Credit: Scania/Tobias Ohls)
Hybrid Truck with Siemens pantograph on the roof. (Image Credit: Scania/Tobias Ohls)

The new technology allows the trucks to function as electric vehicles when on the electrified road and as regular hybrid vehicles at all other times. All the Scania trucks on the road are hybrid and Euro 6-certified, running on biofuel.

“The electric road is one important milestone on the journey towards fossil-free transport. Scania is committed to the success of this project and is committed to sustainable transport solutions,” said Claes Erixon, Scania’s head of Research and Development.

The trucks receive their electrical power from a pantograph power collector that is mounted on the frame behind its cab. The pantographs are connected to overhead power lines directly above the right lane of the road, and the trucks can freely connect to and disconnect from the overhead wires while in motion.

Electric road hybrid truck. (Image Credit:: Scania/ Tobias Ohls)
Electric road hybrid truck. (Image Credit:: Scania/ Tobias Ohls)

Once a truck reaches road outside of the electrically-powered lane, the pantograph disconnects and the truck is powered by the combustion engine or the battery- operated electric motor. The same principle applies when the driver wants to overtake another vehicle while on the electrified strip of the road.

“The potential fuel savings through electrification are considerable and the technology can become a cornerstone for fossil-free road transport services,” Nils-Gunnar Vågstedt, who is responsible for Scania’s research into electrification.

According to Scania, the electric road is a key component in achieving Sweden’s goal of an energy-efficient and fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030.

The electric road is one of several technologies that Scania is working on to help the spread of sustainable solutions on the transportation front. The company is also developing alternative fuels, more hybrid vehicles, and autonomously and wirelessly-connected transportation.

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