FAQ

Who is responsible for the project?

RUAB has been contracted by the Swedish Transport Administration and is responsible for the eRoadArlanda project. A section of Road 893 has been leased by the Swedish Transport Administration for a two-year demonstration period. The project will deliver a report to the Swedish Transport Administration explaining the knowledge, experience and conditions required for the possible future electrification of roads.

What is the project supposed to accomplish?

The purpose of the project is to build a two-kilometer demonstration section that will be used for a period of two years by a truck carrying PostNord freight in order to determine how well the installation works under normal traffic conditions in various weather conditions. Until then, development and tests will be carried out on a separate enclosed test track.

What does it cost?

Electrifying 20,000 kilometers of roads in Sweden with conductive feeds is expected to cost about SEK 80 billion. The difference should be compared: current vehicle-fuel costs amount to (seven million tons x SEK 6,000 =) SEK 42 billion per year before tax. Clean electric power would cost about (25 TWh x SEK 0.4/kW =) SEK 10 billion per year before tax. Therefore, the savings would be SEK 32 billion per year. If we assume that electric cars with small batteries cost the same as internal-combustion cars, it would take less than three years to pay for the electrification of the roads.
Read more here.

What types of vehicles can be charged?

Although the system is designed with the capacity to feed heavier traffic, such as trucks, it also works for cars and buses. It can also provide help for uphill driving.

Is there enough electricity for an increase in electric vehicles?

If all of the cars in Sweden were to be electrified and powered solely by electricity, about 25 TWh of electricity would be required. Since Sweden currently consumes about 155 TWh of electricity, this would entail an increase of 16 percent, which roughly corresponds to current plans to increase wind-power production.

Aren’t electric cars considerably weaker?

A passenger car does not consume more than between 15 to 20 kW for speeds of 90 km/h, while large trucks require about 150 kW. To cope with overtaking maneuvers and maintaining speed on steep slopes, approximately ten times the output capacity is installed. With electric engines, however, a lower capacity can be installed, since their torque remains largely consistent and no gears are required. The concept is for the vehicles to use a battery-powered electric engine to achieve full output, while the batteries are recharged on the road. Consequently, only an average output needs to be provided, meaning 15 kW for passenger cars and 150 kW for trucks. During overtaking maneuvers and on uphill slopes, the primary power source will be the battery.

How does the vehicle know when the road is electrified?

With the patented solution for the movable arm under the vehicle, a sensor detects the presence of a rail in the road. When this is located, the contact is automatically inserted into the rail.

What do we gain from using electrical power?

Considering the major savings on fuel and quick return on investment for electrified roads, there should be considerable cost-cutting potential for vehicle drivers. The calculations have intentionally excluded taxes, so as not to enter into a discussion about how taxes should be imposed. What has been indicated pertains purely to costs alone. In addition to pure cost savings, carbon emissions could also be avoided altogether in the long term, which should be considered a major advantage.

Won’t there still be considerable carbon emissions when coal is burned to generate electricity?

We would have considerable savings if the roads were to be electrified today, because present-day cars discharge a lot of carbon dioxide. In the future, cars will be improved, but the electricity system will be far better, which is why there will still be considerable reductions.
Read more here.

Is it possible to overtake while the vehicle’s contact is in the road?

Overtaking is enabled by the automatic raising of the movable contact whenever the vehicle gets too far from the rail under the vehicle. When the overtaking maneuver has been completed and the vehicle returns to a position above the rail, the arm is lowered into the road. During an overtaking maneuver, the arm stays in a raised position, while continuously checking for a rail and automatically lowering the contact again.

How are rocks and obstacles handled on the roads?

Major obstacles can be detected by a radar, similar to the type used for detecting wildlife or people on the road. In such events, a command is sent to raise the contact arm. Minor obstacles are handled through the special design of the contact, which allows it to cope with collisions with smaller rocks. This has been tested at full speeds.

What happens when it rains?

As the contacts are designed to eject water from the track, heavy traffic and not-too-heavy downpours will not pose any major problems. To cope with infrequent traffic, the rails can also be provided with drainage at suitable points, which will keep the track free from inundation regardless of traffic volumes. Drainage has been tested at the installation at Arlanda during winter, spring and summer, with highly positive results.

How will snow and ice be managed on the road?

Provided that there is adequate traffic density, the vehicles will keep the track clean. If the road should be snowed over and a snow plow is required to clear the road, it will be able to simultaneously clean the track with a special device.
However, during periods of low traffic at night, ice could form on the conductors, thus forming an insulating layer. A patented solution for this problem was successfully tested during 2012 to 2013.

How do you supply electricity from the road without risking the lives of humans and animals?

The safety of humans and animals on the road is of paramount importance, and consequently, a series of measures have been implemented and tested:
1. The high-tension conductor is submerged in the road in the same way that the cables in a wall socket are embedded in the wall and cannot be accessed without poking into the wall. The upper part of the rail is earthed, which also prevents animals and humans from getting a jolt from walking on the road.
2. Only short sections of the conductor are powered at a time in conjunction with a vehicle’s passage. This means that if anyone should stand on the road and poke into the track and touch the conductors, nothing will happen until a car is very close, in which case, the risk of impact will be greater than that of an electric shock.
3. If a vehicle should stop, the electricity will not be switched on for the particular section. This could be triggered by calculating the vehicle’s speed – the current is switched on only when the speed exceeds a minimum threshold.
4. The system is equipped with safety circuits that will indicate any faults, and in such an event, will order the disconnection of a larger section of the road.
5. The roads will have signs indicating that they are electrified. The media will be used to inform the public on how to behave on electrified roads and avoid inserting objects into the track.

Aren’t the tracks in the road dangerous to motorcycles and bicycles?

The width of the track is dimensioned so that even racing bicycles can pass along lengthwise without getting stuck. For motorcycles, the track’s upper side is designed to provide roughly the same friction as asphalt. Consequently, there is no increased risk of slipping for a bicycle or motorcycle.

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