Sweden has opened its e-Highway: an electrified highway that allows to trucks travel using the same principle as trams. Which greatly improves their environmental impact.
Sweden has set itself an ambitious target 2030: to be the first country to completely phase out fossil fuels.
It’s a goal that necessarily requires action on road transport. Trucks in particular have a heavy ecological footprint. Because they are energy greedy, they are responsible for 15% of the country's CO2 emissions.
Various solutions to reduce their environmental impact are now being tested. Among them is the e-Highway, the first ever electrified highway for trucks.
Two years of testing on the first 2 km section
The Swedish transport authority commissioned Siemens - the electricity giant - and Scania - the truck manufacturer - to run the e-Highway project.
The technology has been fitted on a 2 km section of Highway E16 in Gävle, north of Stockholm. Opened on June 22, 2016, the e-Highway will be tested for two years under real road traffic conditions: the right lane is electrified, but vehicles can use the other lanes as usual.
For now, the device allows hybrid trucks to travel at a smooth speed of 90 km/h. And because the change from the hybrid engine to the diesel engine is automatic, they can leave the electrified lane whenever they want to.
Improving the environmental impact of trucks
The e-Highway system could significantly reduce the environmental impact of trucks. Siemens takes the view that it would double the energy efficiency of hybrid trucks over conventional trucks.
In addition, the system offers the possibility of a "zero emission" journey. On a large scale, air quality would greatly improve.
Finally, it is easy to install and the electrical system is more economical than other solutions such as photovoltaic roads.
If the test proves successful, the system will be deployed on 110 km of highway. A similar project is also being conducted by Siemens in California.
The e-Highway could well redefine the future of road transport. In the meantime, one thing is certain: Sweden is on the road to energy efficiency!
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Main picture: Credit Siemens