Electric highway

The world’s first electric highway

The world’s first electric highway has been tested between Sandviken and Kungsgården since 2016. It is now disassembled according to plan. The experiences, technique and equipment will be reusable elsewhere.

The demonstration section has been two kilometers long and followed the E16 between Kungsgården and Sandviken. Two trucks have operated the highway to evaluate how well it works in regular traffic in different weather conditions. It has proven to work fine, and both Siemens and Scania have gathered a lot of knowledge for further development. The competence from the project will now be compiled into a final report that will be delivered to the Swedish Transport Administration.

The project has also placed Sandviken on the world map. Before the project started, the discussion was whether the world’s first electric highway would be built in Sandviken or in California, USA. Sandviken was chosen. The project has generated many visits and international attention for our work around sustainable development and conversion to a fossil-independent society.

Truck on electric highway

What happens now?

The electrical highway is now disassembled according to plan. Instead of expanding the highway from Avesta to Gävle Hamn as earlier discussed, the Swedish Transport Administration is now evaluating two new pilot sections:

  • E20 between Örebro and Hallsberg
  • Road 73 between Nynäshamn and Västerhaninge

How does an electrical highway work?

There has been a contact line, approximately five meters above the ground along the demonstration section between Kungsgården and Sandviken. For such a solution, there is a post placed approximately every 60 metres that holds two electricity cables.

When the truck drives along the highway, something called a pantograph automatically appears at the roof of the vehicle and charges the electric motor. When the truck brakes, power is returned to the system. If there is no electricity to connect to, the car is powered by an ordinary diesel motor, that can be run on fossil free HVO. The motor could also be replaced by a fuel cell and hydrogen tank, which would make the transportations even more environmentally friendly.

Background to the electric highway

The Swedish railway network is overloaded and in great need of restoration. This has led to an increase of heavy trucks on the roads. However, trucks emit a significant amount of carbon dioxide so finding sustainable alternatives is important. That’s the background to the electric highway project.

The major advantage of electric highways is of course that emissions disappear almost entirely. Additionally, both energy consumption and maintenance costs are significantly lower than with combustion engines. The efficiency of electric power is 77 per cent, which is high compared to a diesel engine, while energy consumption is about a fifth of diesel and petrol.

Financing from the Swedish Transport Administration made it possible for Region Gävleborg, Scania and Siemens to build, drive, test and evaluate the world’s first electric highway for heavy trucks on a public road. The project started in June 2016 and has exceeded all expectations.

Sweden is at the leading edge of environmental technology. This project gives us even more competence and experience that will create new innovative products, services and employment in the future. Something to be proud of!

Project members

  • Trafikverket, Vinnova and Energimyndigheten have been project owners. They wanted to evaluate if electric highways can be a cost-efficient complement to existing road and railway traffic. The Swedish State invested 77 billion SEK in the project.
  • Region Gävleborg acted as project manager.
  • Main players were Scania (the trucks) and Siemens (the electrical technology). They both invested approximately 40 billion SEK in the project. Boliden, SSAB, Sandvik, Stora Enso, Ernst Express, Midroc Electro, Outokumpu, Sandviken Energi, Gävle Hamn, Gävle Energi, Handelshögskolan in Stockholm and Högskolan i Gävle were other main players. The project also worked in close collaboration with Trafikverket, Elsäkerhetsverket and Transportstyrelsen.
  • The transport company Ernst Express operated the trucks on the highway.
  • Researchers from Högskolan Gävle, KTH, Handels and Viktoriainstitutet were following the project

When wise people from all over the world in industry, academia and the public sector interact exciting things happen. Sandviken is such a place in the field of fossil free and climate neutral energy.

Sandviken PurePOWER is an open communication concept administered by Sandvikens Kommun. Here, people that want to contribute to making Sweden one of the world’s first fossil free countries meet. Sandviken is the place where it all happens. Right now.