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

Just over a mile of electric rail has been embedded in a public road near Stockholm, and the government’s roads agency already has plans future expansion.

The technology solves the issue of electric vehicles charged as 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 similar 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.

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.

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.”

Photograph: Joakim Kröger/eRoadArlanda
Photograph: Joakim Kröger/eRoadArlanda
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