Electric highway

The world’s first electric highway

The world’s first electric highway has been tested on a public road since 2016. The demonstration section is two kilometers long and follows 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 the Swedish Transport Administration now takes the next step: to expand the pilot to two sections with more traffic:

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

It took a long time before the decision was made on whether the world’s first electric highway would be built in Gästrikland or California, USA. Gästrikland was chosen.

Truck on 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.

How does it work?

Have you noticed the overhead lines about five meters up in the air between Kungsgården and Sandviken? There’s a post 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 HVO synthetic diesel motor.

This is how it works today but there are plans to replace the diesel motor with a fuel cell and a hydrogen tank. That would make the transportations between the heavy industry regions in Dalarna all the way to the Port of Gävle even more environmentally friendly.

The project

Financing from the Swedish Transport Administration means that Region Gävleborg, Scania and Siemens can 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.

Now, the project is extended to March 2021 under the project name “Reality lab, sustainable transport systems”. It will develop new business models for the electrical highway: who provides the electricity and who earns money from the trucks, are questions that the project will answer.

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.

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 are project owners. They will evaluate if electric highways can be a cost-efficient complement to existing road and railway traffic. The Swedish State has invested 77 billion SEK in the project.
    • Region Gävleborg, Magnus Ernström magnus.ernstrom@regiongavleborg.se is the project manager.
    • Main players are Scania (the trucks) and Siemens (the electrical technology). They both invest 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 are other main players. The project also works in close collaboration with Trafikverket, Elsäkerhetsverket and Transportstyrelsen.
    • The transport company Ernst Express operates the trucks on the highway.
    • Researchers from Högskolan Gävle, KTH, Handels and Viktoriainstitutet are following the project

    What does it cost?

    The project is estimated to cost 125 billion SEK:

    • Public funding: approximately 77 billion
    • Financing from the industry and region: approximately 48 billion

    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.