Sweden presents its first electric highway trials to operate on public roads. The two-year project aims to reduce pollution and truck energy consumption.

Located at the North of Stockholm, the electric highway system (eHighway) will let electric vehicles operate on public roads.

Much like an electrified railroad, the 1.2-mile stretch has a series of wires hanging overhead, Credit: Engadget

The eHighway system trial

Sweden’s first electric highway will allow electric trucks to operate along a two-kilometer stretch of freeway. For the test, a pair of electric diesel-electric hybrid freight trucks will be used to transport goods because it is one of the primary means of transporting merchandise all across the country.

According to Anders Berndtsson, chief strategist at the Swedish Transport Administration, the ehighway system will make disappear the dependence of trucks on fossil fuels: “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. That is why we must free the trucks from their dependence on fossil fuels so that they can be of use also in the future. Electric roads offer this possibility and are an excellent complement to the transport system,” said Berndtsson.

Composed by electrified cables running overhead, the electric highway will connect electric trucks through power lines. Thus, the two diesel hybrid vehicles will operate under a catenary system.

One feature that adds innovation to Sweden’s electric highway is the hybrid technology system. Hybrid trucks have a traditional combustion engine and also an electric power machine. In order to operate on the electric highway, a sensor located above the truck detects available power lines to get connected to the system. Each truck contains a pantograph (also known as a current collector, it is a device mounted on the roof of the truck to collect power through contact with an overhead catenary wire) which can be managed automatically or manually via the driver.

Once connected to the electrified lines, the hybrid trucks can travel about 56 MPH while the vehicle’s battery gets recharged. When coming to the end of the electric highway, the system seamlessly changes from one power source to another.

The pantograph technology has been developed by German technology company, Siemens. The electric highway system feeds 750 volts DC to the pantograph, which emerges from the truck to plug in the road’s power lines.

The project comprises a two-year test to assess the system’s performance while rolling out in roadways with other sorts of vehicles. The test will also compose the system’s assessment while operating under different weather conditions. The eHighway system has been inspired by Sweden’s desire of protecting the environment from fossil fuels pollution.

Source: Hybrid Cars