Sweden and Florida go for electrified roads to charge EVs

Sweden is set to convert a motorway into a permanent electrified road, allowing electric cars and e-trucks to charge while driving. According to reports from Euronews, the Swedish transport authority Trafikverket has selected the E20 motorway to undergo the conversion. In the U.S. state of Florida, ENRX is working on a similar project.

The Europan motorway connects the country’s three largest cities and runs through logistics hubs between Hallsberg and Örebro. The project is currently in the planning stage, with construction expected to be completed by 2025. It is expected that this will pave the way for a further 3 000 km of electric roads in Sweden by 2035.

Three options

The charging method for the E20 has not yet been finalized, with three options currently under consideration: the catenary system, the conductive (ground-based) system, and the inductive system. The catenary system uses overhead wires to provide electricity to a particular bus or tram and can only be used for heavy-duty vehicles. The conductive charging system works for both heavy-duty vehicles and private cars, provided that there is a conduction system such as a rail. The inductive charging system uses special equipment buried underneath the road that sends electricity to a coil in the electric vehicle, which charges the battery.

Jan Pettersson, Director of Strategic Development at Trafikverket, stated that electrification is the way forward for decarbonizing the transport sector and that the apparent advantage of electrified roads is that it could lead to longer ranges with smaller batteries. He added that it is a “special challenge” to keep heavy vehicles charged and that using only static charging would result in vehicles carrying (too) huge batteries.

Sweden has already undertaken electrified road pilot projects, such as the world’s first temporary electric road through the Smartroad Gotland pilot project, which began in 2019 and was extended by one year in 2022. It uses technology by ElectReon, a company involved in numerous wireless charging projects.

Germany, Italy, Israel, and the UK are also making similar advances in electric road systems. Sweden has partnered with Germany and France to exchange experience through authority and research collaborations on electric road systems (ERS), with plans to expand electric roads by a further 3 000 km by 2045.

Also in Florida

The Norwegian company ENRX has also recently announced plans to electrify a one-mile section of a four-lane highway near Orlando, Florida.  ENRX wants to inductively charge electric vehicles with 200 kW while driving on a section of highway in Florida. A one-mile section of a four-lane highway near Orlando is to be electrified.

ENRX was founded in March this year, as a merger of EFD Induction, a provider of induction heating solutions, and IPT Technology, an expert in wireless power transmission. ENRX has teamed up with the Central Florida Expressway Authority (CFX) and the Aspire Engineering Research Center for an initiative to build a 1.6-kilometer section on a four-lane highway near Orlando that will inductively charge the batteries of moving electric vehicles at 200 kW.

The principle is clear: the electric vehicle batteries are fitted with a special receiver pad and charged as they drive over the coils embedded in the road. In the process, the energy is transferred from these coils to the receiver pad mounted on the vehicle floor, which according to ENRX should provide “a safe, wireless power supply” even at motorway speeds.

Advantages of the ‘Next Generation Electric Roadway system’ mentioned include interoperability, different output power levels for different vehicle and battery types, or user-defined distance between the ground and the vehicle. In addition, the system (on the infrastructure side) is supposed to be maintenance-free after installation.

No further details

Details on how the solution works exactly or how it differs from other systems for dynamic inductive charging are not mentioned in the press release. It is also not specified, for example, with what tolerance the vehicle must be moved above the ground coil – precise alignment above a charging pad on the ground is already an important factor in stationary inductive charging. The efficiency of the energy transfer is also not yet known.

“When you can charge while driving, range anxiety and frequent charging stops will be a thing of the past,” says ENRX CEO Bjørn Eldar Petersen. “Our unparalleled expertise in induction technology allows us to deliver charging at 200 kW even at high speeds. No one else has the technology to offer anything similar.” Further, he explains how this would change requirements for electric vehicle construction: “Dynamic charging can reduce the need for large battery capacities, allowing cars to be equipped with lighter and more affordable battery packs.”

“As a roadway agency, it is exciting to work with ENRX and ASPIRE to pilot this emerging technology that has the potential to make a significant impact on the future of roadway infrastructure,” added Glenn Pressimone, Chief of Infrastructure at the  Central Florida CFX authority.

As seen above, ENRX is not the only one working on “smart roads”, still the claims appear astonishing compared to one of the (already mentioned above) longer-running projects in Gotland, Sweden. Here technology company ElectReon claims a fully electric 40-ton truck and trailer have reached speeds up to 80 kph and received an average power of 70 kW from the electrified roadway. To be continued.

In Florida, ENRX is trying its technology /ENRX


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