The Electric Road of the Future is Already in Lund
The fourth of June 2020 was a historic day in Lund – it was the day the electric road was inaugurated. Over the next two years, the Evolution Road project will be testing the charging of electric vehicles while driving. Charging via roads saves time and can enable electric vehicles to run on smaller batteries. In the long run, this would mean decreased emissions from Swedish transport.
The electric road was in inaugurated by Philip Sandberg, chairman of the city council of Lund, with a premiere bus trip together with future travelers Jonatan and Maia Nilsson. Prior to this, the charging rails were added to the northbound bus lane on Getingevägen – and it did not take many hours of assembly and installation for the rails to be in place. In the second part of the project, a charging rail will be set into the roadway in the southbound lane.
This patented electric road system solution being tested in Lund was developed by the Swedish company Elonroad AB in collaboration with Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering. Charging can take place both when the vehicle is driving and when it is standing still. It works with most types of vehicles, for example cars, buses and heavy trucks in either urban environments or on freeways. in a city environment or on a highway.
“With Elonroad’s technology, installation is exceptionally simple and cost effective. The charging rails contain advanced technology, making the road network simultaneously smart and digital,” says Karin Ebbinghaus, CEO of Elonroad AB.
Energy is transferred from the charging rail in the road to the vehicle through a receiver that folds out under the vehicle. The receiver has direct contact with the charging rail in a conductive system, which means an efficient transmission of current up to 300 kW from the rail to the vehicle. The charging rail on the road is powered in meter-long sections making this system quite safe as the powered part of the rail is always covered by the vehicle itself. These short sections differentiate the Evolution Road from many other electric road projects where significantly longer sections are used.
Project Evolution Road began in 2019 and will run until 2022. The first vehicle being tested is an electronic bus from Solaris, which will be tested one week per month on the electric road. Adjacent to the electric road in Lund, a visitor center is opening.
“We believe in this technology’s ability to make a significant impact and are looking forward to showcasing the benefits. This project would not have been possible without our partners’ support and hard work to get this electric road launched and inaugurated,” said Per Löfberg, project manager for Evolution Road, in connection with the inauguration.
Peter Kisch, the project manager for the City of Lund’s innovation platform Future by Lund, was involved in an early stage of the electric road when the project was formed and the application written. “It’s fantastic to see the project kick off after just over six years,” says Peter Kisch. “It points to the fact that persistence is important in reaching goals in such matters.”
“For us to achieve the climate goals, electrification of the transport sector is essential. Electric road systems are an important part of the solution to reduce emissions, and the Evolution Road project will provide crucial knowledge in the work ahead,” said the Minister of Energy and Digitization, Anders Ygeman, at the inauguration.
More about Evolution Road
The Evolution Road project was commission by the Swedish Transport Administration to build a demonstration facility for electric roads. The purpose is to gain more knowledge about electric roads and to investigate the potential of electric roads as a complement in a future fossil-free transport system.
Behind this initiative is the southern Swedish consortium Evolution Road, which is supported and financed by the Swedish Transport Administration. Over the next two years, the goal is to test and gain more knowledge about electric roads, a climate smart technology that makes it possible for electric vehicles to be charged from the road while driving.
The project was made possible through a collaboration of nine partners: Elonroad AB, Innovation Skåne AB, Kraftringen Energi AB, the City of Lund, Lund University’s Faculty of Engineering (LTH), Ramboll AB, Skånetrafiken, Solaris Sverige AB and the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI).
According to Sweden’s climate goals, emissions from the Swedish transport sector will be reduced by 70 percent by 2030, and an important part of this may be to electrify road transport. The testing of electric roads now ongoing in Sweden is the first step in creating a charging infrastructure to enable a shift to an electrified and fossil-free vehicle fleet with reduced emissions. The Swedish Transport Administration is the main financier and has invested SEK 84 million, of a total SEK 96 million, in the initiative in Skåne in order to develop more knowledge about the technology as well as its operation, maintenance, and environmental effects.
Text: Caroline Wendt
Translation: Finlay MacGregor
Photo: Innovation Skåne