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Sweden is testing electric roads for trucks

Sweden has began testing a way of electrifying roads used by heavy duty trucks as part of its aim to ditch a reliance on fossil fuels.

Two programs have begun, the first involving overhead powerlines that feed 750 volts DC into a hybrid system on the truck, much like how electric trains work. Testing began on Wednesday in the E16 road in Sandviken, Sweden.

The electric system has been installed on a stretch of road around a mile and a half in length and features posts 60 metres apart to hold the powerlines in place, which allow the trucks to travel up to 56mph. Truck manufacturer Scania and Region Gavleborg are working together on the project.

It is hoped the electric system will help save fuel and reduce emissions, helping Sweden to meet its aim of a fossil fuel-free vehicle fleet by the year 2030.

Another program in the area of Arlanda, nearer Stockholm, is testing an electric rail inside a roadway, which uses an inductive system to recharge electric vehicles as they drive along. Testing will be done on a closed-off road until 2017, where it will demonstrated in a public setting.

Sweden will trial the systems until 2018, according to reports, at which point Sweden can use the expertise gained to potentially press on with electrification of its roads. Or not, if it proves ineffective, as the case may be.

Swedish transport authority Trafikverket director general said: “Electric roads will bring us one step closer to fossil fuel-free transports, and has the potential to achieve zero carbon dioxide emissions.”

He added: “This is one way of developing environmentally smart transports in the existing road network. It could be a good supplement to today’s road and rail network.”

The Scania truck being tested features a 360hp 13-litre engine that runs on biofuel and a 130kW electric motor good for 1,050Nm of torque.

Germany is another country looking to clean up its act, with a view to having 100 per cent of all new cars sold emission-free by 2030.

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