Sweden Is Building a Highway That Charges Your EV While You Drive

Sweden wants to make pesky EV chargers a thing of the past.

The Nordic country is building the world’s first permanent electric road that will recharge the batteries of cars and trucks as they’re driving on it, as reported by Elektrek. The Swedes have already piloted four temporary electrified roads, but this 13-mile stretch will be, well, concrete.

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The new e-highway, which is set to be complete in just two years’ time, will increase vehicle range on the go and reduce the need for lengthy charging pitstops. The project is being spearheaded by Trafikverket, though the Swedish transport administration has yet to settle on a contractor and the tech that it will use.

Trafikverket is considering three different options that it has already successfully trialed. The highway could be fitted with overhead power lines that can power a car like a tram or electric rails that transmit energy to the EV through a conductive pickup beneath the vehicle. Another option is an inductive system in which electromagnetic coils that are embedded in the road pass a charge into the battery.

An all-electric truck is attached to the first "eRoad" of its kind, an approximately two-kilometer-long electrified road on April 11, 2018 at Arlanda airport, north of Stockholm. This eRoadArlanda is an example of a sustainable and cost-effective solution to enable the electrification of existing commercial roads. The electrified road, a Swedish innovation, is the first of its kind in the world and allows both commercial and passenger vehicles to be recharged while driving.   / AFP PHOTO / Jonathan NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)
A short electric road north of Stockholm that was laid in 2018.

There’s a silver lining to the inductive tech, too. Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology released a study back in March that found a combination of home charging and dynamic charging could make EV batteries 70 percent (or one-third) smaller.

The road itself will be built on the European route E20, which connects Hallsberg and Örebro. The highway also provides access to Sweden’s major cities of Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö. The E20 was selected as it is a heavily trafficked route and also has the power supply required.

The road is expected to come online shortly after it is completed in 2025. Sweden plans to have a further 1,900 or so miles of electric road laid by 2045. Other countries such as France, Italy, the U.K., and the U.S. are also looking into building electric roads. Given the EV charging network in the States is buckling with the influx of battery-powered rides, it seems that electric roads can’t come soon enough.

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