World’s First Electric Highway

Sweden has inaugurated the World’s First Electric Highway on 22 June for special trucks which have a set-up of hybrid electric diesel engines made by Scania. The E16 motorway between Sweden and Norway is now a 2.2 kilometer electric highway. The electric lines are supplied by Siemens.

 This system is to test out a modern way to connect trucks with the electric wires installed. These wires or cables are similar to electric trolleys. But this stretch of the highway is not for buses. The extendible pantographs are the innovative idea which allows trucks to connect to the overhead wiring while travelling at 90 kilometers per hour.

As a part of the Swedish government’s drive to achieve zero fossil fuel transportation by 2030, this system will test two trucks on this way for the coming 24 months. Government predicts that using electricity from renewable sources to power the trucks will lead to a reduction in carbon of up to 90%.

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Sweden Government also claims that a total of €20,000 (as per the current fuel costs) is expected to be saved when the German 40-ton truck runs for 100,000 km on its eHighway. So, soon the Swedish officials hope to extend this system to cover above 200 kilometers of road.

“By far the greatest part of the goods transported in Sweden goes on the road, but only a limited part of the goods can be moved to other traffic types,” noted Andres Berntsson, chief strategist at Sweden Transport Administration.

Magnus Ernström, project manager explained to Radio Sweden, that the route is an important throughway for commercial shipping. The eastbound railroad parallel to the eHighway is already at capacity, so the way is described as the electric lane as a “flexible railroad” by Ernström.

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Reducing carbon emissions is the main aim of the nations all around the globe. So, Sweden sees the eHighway system as one way to fight fossil fuels.

“Heavy traffic needs a lot of energy and you have to have a conductive technology if you want to run them on electricity today, that is, you need to have a connection between a wire and the system in the truck,” said  Ernström to Radio Sweden.

“If you would run a heavy truck on battery, it would need 20 tons of battery to transport maybe 30-40 tons of cargo, so you would not have so much room left for the cargo.”