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Power Transportation Technology

World's First Electrified Road For Charging Vehicles Opens In Sweden (theguardian.com) 102

A 1.2-mile stretch of road with electric rails has been installed in Stockholm, Sweden, allowing electric vehicles to charge up their batteries as they drive across it. "The technology behind the electrification of the road linking Stockholm Arlanda airport to a logistics site outside the capital city aims to solve the thorny problems of keeping electric vehicles charged, and the manufacture of their batteries affordable," reports The Guardian. From the report: Energy is transferred from two tracks of rail in the road via a movable arm attached to the bottom of a vehicle. The design is not dissimilar to that of a Scalextric track, although should the vehicle overtake, the arm is automatically disconnected. The electrified road is divided into 50m sections, with an individual section powered only when a vehicle is above it. When a vehicle stops, the current is disconnected. The system is able to calculate the vehicle's energy consumption, which enables electricity costs to be debited per vehicle and user. The "dynamic charging" -- as opposed to the use of roadside charging posts -- means the vehicle's batteries can be smaller, along with their manufacturing costs. A former diesel-fuelled truck owned by the logistics firm, PostNord, is the first to use the road.

World's First Electrified Road For Charging Vehicles Opens In Sweden

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  • Wow. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I bet pedestrians are in for a "shock" ...

    • Re:Wow. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zumbs ( 1241138 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @04:27AM (#56429673) Homepage
      From TFA:

      Säll said: “There is no electricity on the surface. There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall. Five or six centimetres down is where the electricity is. But if you flood the road with salt water then we have found that the electricity level at the surface is just one volt. You could walk on it barefoot.”

      • Presumably you could lie down on it naked, too... as long as it's really cold outside.
      • it doesn't really say how they intend to bill , other than "can be debited per vehicle and user", so i put on my robe and fake black hat and ask myself , how long before people start getting bills on their id while they have never been there, because i'm sure its unhackable and despite it being a supreme initiative, the amount of backpatting on we're actually doing something here will probably keep the blind spots hidden ...
  • 1.2 miles of road? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mark_reh ( 2015546 ) on Thursday April 12, 2018 @10:20PM (#56428603) Journal

    Driving 1.2 miles might take 5 minutes, maximum. How much power can they possibly transfer to the vehicle battery in that time?

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      A pantograph https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] so whats the max that can be pushed back up into the vehicle?
      What can a really good battery take given the average speed and the length of the electric rail down the road?
    • by VeryFluffyBunny ( 5037285 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @12:06AM (#56429015)
      Actually, when you pull out from that close up shot, it looks like this: http://www.newmodellersshop.co... [newmodellersshop.co.uk] ;)
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Friday April 13, 2018 @12:30AM (#56429087) Homepage

      Driving 1.2 miles might take 5 minutes, maximum. How much power can they possibly transfer to the vehicle battery in that time?

      Also, the very first fax machine was a completely useless product, since there was nobody to send faxes to or receive faxes from. I don't know why they even bothered to manufacture it.

      • by hawk ( 1151 )

        actually, the first faxes were at the telco center, not to user machines.

        Not very big, either (4"? I forget).

        And expensive per transmission.

        hawk

    • I'm guessing you skipped the bit in the article that says that it's a trial and they're planning to role it out across the country.

    • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

      That seems unlikely even

      "When a vehicle stops, the current is disconnected."

      This leads me to believe it is a proof of concept, and not a charger. The idea is that cars would use the power instead of batteries, and not charge off of it. Eventually, long haul roads would be powered like this and batteries would only need to cover what ever the automobile equivalent of last mile is (last ten miles I guess ?).

      • by tsqr ( 808554 )

        This leads me to believe it is a proof of concept, and not a charger. The idea is that cars would use the power instead of batteries, and not charge off of it.

        Really? TFA leads me to believe you might be incorrect:

        Headline: World's first electrified road for charging vehicles opens in SwedenWorld's first electrified road for charging vehicles opens in Sweden

        Sub-head: Stretch of road outside Stockholm transfers energy from two tracks of rail in the road, recharging the batteries of electric cars and trucks

        First sentence: The world’s first electrified road that recharges the batteries of cars and trucks driving on it has been opened in Sweden.

        • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

          Fair enough.

          Why does it not charge stopped cars then?

          • Just a guess, maybe to keep people from stopping their vehicles to let them charge and blocking the lane.
          • by tsqr ( 808554 )

            Fair enough.

            Why does it not charge stopped cars then?

            TFA didn't explain that design decision. Since I have to guess, I'm going to go with, "The number of cars the system would have to charge if traffic were bumper-to-bumper and stopped or barely moving (e.g., Los Angeles' I405 during rush hour) would exceed the power delivery of the system."

            Your original post mentioned covering the last mile. TFA covered something very similar -- the long-term plan is to electrify highways, but not local roads. I believe they said the average distance between highways is some

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's a test track. To be useful it would have to be deployed on over longer distances.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Driving 1.2 miles might take 5 minutes, maximum. How much power can they possibly transfer to the vehicle battery in that time?

      Since we are going to nitpick like autistic retards, the source says it is 'about' 2 km.
      It could be anywhere between 0.9 and 1.6 miles.

      • by Socguy ( 933973 )
        How much charge can you get in 5 minutes? Depends on the charge rate your vehicle can accept and in what state of discharge you pack is in. At peak, 5 minutes at a Tesla supercharger can add about 40 miles of range to your vehicle. If this stretch of road is located on the up incline of a hill, then you also get to nearly double that through regeneration on the way down the other side. I don't know what kind of rate the trucks will be able to pull through this system but even half that would be fantasti
    • "Opportunity charging" is nothing new but it's been mostly used for public transport (collectors at bus stops). How long does a bus stop at a bus stop?

      • How long does a bus stop at a bus stop?

        About 20 seconds on average?

        From what I've seen (could be wrong), the buses that recharge shortly at every stop (or every third or fourth stop) use supercapacitors that can be charged very quickly. The buses with batteries recharge for a longer time at fewer locations where the bus holds for several minutes, or more (e.g. places where the driver takes a break, or end-points of a line).

    • by sad_ ( 7868 )

      i think this is a great idea, but as you said, the distance is too short.
      but what if you would put those chargerroads in highly congested places?
      instead of 5 minutes, it would take 30, 40 or even more minutes to cross and that should be plenty of time to charge the batts to a reasonable level.

    • Driving 1.2 miles might take 5 minutes, maximum. How much power can they possibly transfer to the vehicle battery in that time?

      Meanwhile, there are all kinds of places where cars are parked that would make much better charging sites. Spending millions of dollars a mile - okay, okay, Euros per kilometer - for a charging road is the ultimate in dead end projects.

  • by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday April 12, 2018 @10:23PM (#56428615)

    Energy is transferred from two tracks of rail in the road via a movable arm attached to the bottom of a vehicle.

    ... than transferring the energy from above [wikipedia.org].

    • Below may be easier in ideal conditions. But in real-life conditions, above is easier because crud doesn't build up, and things traveling on the road don't hit the transfer mechanism.
      • "... crud doesn't build up"

        Quit being pragmatic. We're talking The Guardian here.

        Also, unlike overhead wires, this sounds like maintenance nightmare.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Very exclusive and isolationist...

  • Why would you put track that the vehicle has to connect to? It will wear out and you have to line it up and connect. Ever hear of wireless charging??? Duh. They could have done this in a much much better way. Make it wireless charging!
    • That only works if it is taxpayer funded. Perform a seance and ask the ghost of Nikola Tesla why.
    • Duh. They could have done this in a much much better way. Make it wireless charging!

      Depends how you define "better". Wireless charging is usually much less efficient.

      • Depends how you define "better". Wireless charging is usually much less efficient.

        What is worse, somewhat more inefficient, or not working at all?

        What happens as soon as a bit of road debris is left to accumulate in the tracks, which causes the vehicle contact to become damaged and disfunctional? At least a large inductive coil buried under asphalt would be protected and not require moving parts.

        • What is worse, somewhat more inefficient, or not working at all?

          What happens as soon as a bit of road debris is left to accumulate in the tracks, which causes the vehicle contact to become damaged and disfunctional? At least a large inductive coil buried under asphalt would be protected and not require moving parts.

          Well, this is a test track, so we will see how it works. Personally, I'm skeptical. That doesn't mean that wireless charging is the answer, though.

          Despite all of the brou-ha-ha and countless research into wireless charging, most things that charge (and especially moving things like streetcars, trains, and trolleybuses) do so via physical contact. There are reasons why this is so.

          • Doesn't mean that wireless charging isn't the best tradeoff between convenience and functionality and reliability, either. Sometimes even the most simple and direct solution turns out to be more complicated, as I'm sure this test track will soon demonstrate.

            Wireless brou-ha-ha... I hope you wrote that from a mobile device. :)

        • They claim that it's self-cleaning and also that they have a special cleaning vehicle if there is more debris than the automatic system can handle. However time will tell, this is a 2 year project to see how well the technology works in real world scenarios (they have run an internal test track for 5 years already).
          • So even more moving parts, which can be affected by freezing conditions and electrolysis.

            This is turning out to be a really amazing system.

            • I don't think that this is really something that the designers have missed since it's built in a country with snow and rain in the majority of the seasons. And their first test track have withstood 5 winters so far.
  • This is actually really REALLY old technology. Streetcars used this at the dawn of American cities, and I'm somewhat curious if having a dual-use (Streetcar and electric automobile) network could propel a faster switch from IC engines and towards better public transit in one fell swoop. While the idea of trolleys and streetcars using overhead wiring is more common, plenty of US cities used in-road electric rails (most notably Washington DC see links) http://www.rypn.org/forums/vie... [rypn.org] https://www.dcpreserva [dcpreservation.org]
  • One of two in Sweden (Score:5, Informative)

    by iktos ( 166530 ) * on Friday April 13, 2018 @12:28AM (#56429083)

    The first one was built a bit further north and uses a dual overhead catenary and has a counterpart in a warmer climate in USA.
    Both built to test how the technologies will work in practical conditions.
    https://www.trafikverket.se/en... [trafikverket.se]

    • Siemens have built a pilot of the overhead catenary in Carson, California [insideevs.com]. They're building another just south of Frankfurt in Germany [siemens.com].

      From the picture it looks like the overhead version will only work with trucks, but the rails embedded in tarmac version will work most vehicles.

  • Electric cars and Trams (or cars operating like them), Nickel-Iron Batteries, wooden high-rises, hyperloop (New York City still has remnants of the pneumatic tube network), natural plastics. Blacksmithing is even seeing a resurgence... What's next? Wood gasifiers, Lye soap, Roman concrete, shipping by sail, cars with sails, horse and buggy, derigibles, the rest of Nikola Tesla's patent portfolio? What about medicine, modern medicine allowed us to forget treatments that may have worked OK - for example t
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Solar freaking roadways to make this system into a truley worthless money pit.

  • Why are they using an old Peugeot 406 ?
  • Now when that truck has miscalculated and is almost out of juice, it will go at 2 kmh on that stretch of road to get some meaningful charge...

  • This is a great first step, but let's make this at least mostly autonomous. Already autonomous cars are coming, but with the carnage they seem to be leaving on the roadways, what if we could come up with a way to make them more or less idiot-proof?

    This electrifying track is a great first step in making electric cars feasible, but what if we added a couple more of them that could interface with the wheels of the car to keep it moving in exactly the right direction? If there is no ambiguity or variance in the

  • ... everyone would drive little individual trolleys? :)

How many NASA managers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? "That's a known problem... don't worry about it."

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