Sweden may be small, but the country is a powerhouse for setting an environmental example for the world. It’s consistently in the top three most environmentally responsible countries, along with Finland and Iceland. Already more than 50% of Sweden’s energy comes from renewables, and they are gunning for 100%.
In yet another push towards full sustainability, the Swedish Transport Administration announced the pre-commercial procurement results for the electric road system tender on April 12. Their goal is to increase knowledge and find innovative solutions to implement electric road technology on their heavy road network. The results of this project will give them vital information in the pursuit.
Amid many competitors for the contract, the small consortium Smart Road Gotland (Gotland GPe Circuit AB as its applicant) won the final round against much larger industrial competitors. Budget for the public-private project is $15.5 million.
Taking Aim at Buses and Trucks
As background, Gotland GPe Circuit AB is the world’s first sustainable race and test circuit. It was this submission that won over the Swedish Transport Administration. The project was developed with Eletreon with funding from the World Ecological Forum to develop the winning entry.
The new Dynamic Electric Road, the first of its kind, takes aim at buses and trucks. These vehicles are notorious for spewing high levels of C02 into the air. In addition, Electreon AB’s technology is compatible with all types of EVs, including buses, trucks, passenger cars and includes self-driving vehicles. While green technologies must be effective on an environmental level, they must also be practical economically. Great technology that’s too expensive to implement is a bust. As part of its mission, Electreon states up front that their focus includes cost effective, durable and efficient technology.
Using the technology of Electreon AB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Electreon Wireless, the road will inductively charge an electric truck or bus while the vehicles are driving. Professionals will test the system in various seasonal conditions to ensure functionality and safety for future large-scale projects on highways. If successful, the project will demonstrate the potential of dynamic wireless mobile power transfer. Done wirelessly, inductive charging transfers energy between two objects through an electromagnetic field. The field gets its power from a charging station. In this case, the road will acts as the charging station.
An Israeli publicly traded company, Electreon develops DWPT (Dynamic wireless power transfer) technology. As battery power and weight, which reduce range, are the biggest drawbacks to electric mobility, concentration is focused on removing those obstacles. Electreon’s technology addresses those issues, enabling a shared infrastructure that significantly reduces the need to charge vehicles’ batteries during day/overnight and decreases the size of the battery.
As you can imagine, Electreon was pretty jazzed after winning the contract, “We are excited that we have been selected to take part in the Swedish government’s ambitious program to examine and implement electric road technology as a solution to electrify heavy trucks on highways,” said Oren Ezer, CEO of Electreon. “The selection of Electreon by the Swedish government after careful filtration testifies to the recognition of the potential of the technology to bring the global electrification revolution to the next critical stage of full implementation.”
Planned as a fully functional public shuttle service and test bed, the road will cover just under a mile as part of the two and a half stretch between the airport and the center of Visby, located on the island of Gotland in the middle of the Baltic Sea.
Perhaps the Swedes will share the technology with the US. We can use all the help we can get.