Sometimes vehicles will be too big and heavy to make them ideal candidates for full electrification. That doesn’t mean, though, they can’t be powered solely by electricity.
Proving that point, Sweden — in conjunction with truck manufacturer Scania — has created the world’s first “electric road.” It’s a two-kilometer stretch of freeway in central Sweden with power lines stretched over the righthand lane.
Hybrid trucks specially fitted with a device called a ‘pantograph power collector’ can drive underneath the lines and tap into the power. When connected to the lines, they run completely on electricity. When they drive out of the right lane, the onboard engine kicks on, as it reverts back to hybrid mode.
The idea isn’t exactly a new one. In fact, Seattle has been running electric ‘Trollybuses’ since 1940. Despite it not being exactly novel, Sweden’s electric road — if given wide implementation — could help the country meet its goal of being fossil-fuel-vehicle free by 2030.
What’s more, since it is a new application for old technology, it’s a solution that doesn’t have to wait for tech to catch up. By that I mean, this program could be expanded today and prove immediately effective. That’s because it’s not based upon far-off battery tech breakthroughs. Semi trucks could be electrified today, if we really wanted them to be.
Let this be a reminder to the rest of us; we can be making steps to solve pollution and global climate right now. Just because it’s not sexy like a Tesla Model S doesn’t mean it’s not impactful.