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One important factor in the development of the roads of the future is the requirement for reduced CO2 emissions, especially from heavy goods vehicles (HGV). According to consultancy firm WSP, it could be possible for two thirds of HGV transport activities in Sweden to take place on electric road systems by 2030.
Sweden is a role model in this area. It was back in 2016 that the world’s very first electric section of road for HGVs was created, on the E16 north of Stockholm. A few years later there was a corresponding initiative in Germany.
The focus is on HGVs. This is because the batteries used in private cars do not have sufficient capacity for use in vehicles that have to drive long distances with a heavy load. An electric road system provides even the heaviest vehicles with sufficient power, which is supplemented by standard batteries when the vehicle leaves the road to deliver its load. For Swedish conditions, the Swedish Transport Administration believes that it will be profitable to build electric road systems covering 2-3,000 km of the national road network.
Such a transition requires significant investments in new, powerful electricity grids that can supply power to the major motorways. Another challenge is the fact that a process of expansion is under way across Europe, which in turn requires an international standard defining how electrically powered vehicles are to be charged while driving. Only then can it be possible to transport goods using HGVs from Malaga in the south all the way to North Cape in Norway, without the need to re-fuel.
Even though many successful road projects have been completed in Western Europe in recent years, the durability and availability of the road infrastructure needs to be improved.Read more about Talking point: Road infrastructure in North-Western Europe