Swedish start-up company Elonroad AB is looking toward the future of automotive by constructing a road that charges electric vehicles while they drive. Norsk Hydro ASA, Oslo, Norway, is assisting by manufacturing the critical aluminium-made electric loops for the project.
Elonroad, in collaboration with Sweden’s Lund University, has been commissioned to build 1,000 meters of road on Getingevägen, in the city center of Lund. EVolution Road is a three-year project that the Swedish Transport Administration intends to use as a demonstration site.
The high-tech electric road concept charges all types of electric vehicles when parked as well as when driving. The 1,000-meter test stretch in Lund is being built and will be in operation this June. It will be the first electric road system to be placed in an urban environment.
Collaboration begins in 2018
In October 2018, Elonroad met with Hydro to discuss delivery of an extruded aluminum profile – a “road profile” – that could contain electronics and a rail for charging electric cars while driving. Such a profile would need to be precisely machined along its entire length, as well as its top and bottom, so that the electronics, cables, positive leads could be fitted and the rail mounted.
“It is very interesting and stimulating to cooperate with Elonroad and thus contribute to the sustainable transport of the future on our roads,” says Hans Fredriksson, who has led the project work for Hydro.
Karin Ebbinghaus, Elonroad’s chief executive officer, says: “We highly appreciate the experience and craftmanship together with the professionality that Hydro shows us, even if we are a small start-up. Our cooperation has been crucial to be able to meet our targets.”
Hydro’s aluminium manufacturing plant in Vetlanda began delivery of the unique product this year. It has supplied 500 meters of the “road profile” as well as 1,000 meters of positive leads as finished components. These processed components correspond to 500 meters of electrified road.
Part of a fossil-free transport system
Elonroad founder Dan Zethraeus says that one of the most important benefits of electric roads is that such roads can significantly reduce the size of the vehicle’s battery – and the weight of the car. “This allows you to carry more goods or passengers. Charging while driving also eliminates the need for downtime to charge the batteries, which saves time,” he says.
- It uses existing road infrastructure
- It has high efficiency, which can lower costs
- Electricity can be produced from renewable sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power
How it works
Elonroad’s concept involves a conductive rail. It can be laid on top of the road or built into the road. The on-top version is 4 cm high and 35 cm wide, with inclined sides of only 10 degrees to make it smooth when changing lanes. It is bonded to the asphalt via mounting plates. The second alternative – the submerged rail built into the asphalt – has a flat top aligned with the surrounding asphalt. It is 25 cm wide and 5 cm deep. It also works well on highways.
When driving, a conductive pickup under the vehicle connects to the electric rail via sliding contacts. The rail is only active when covered by the vehicle, making it safe in a city environment.
The rail is powered by power stations located at the side of the road, and can deliver up to 300 kW with 97% efficiency while driving. In addition to providing propulsion, this is enough power to provide three kilometers of driving distance for every one kilometer of driving on the electric road.
Hydro is a fully integrated aluminium company with 35,000 employees in 40 countries, combining local expertise, worldwide reach and unmatched capabilities in R&D. In addition to production of primary aluminium, rolled and extruded products and recycling, Hydro extracts bauxite, refines alumina and generates energy to be the only 360° company in the global aluminium industry. The company is headquartered in Oslo.
Our vision is to electrify the entire transport sector and make fossil fuel a thing of the past. With clean energy from the sun, wind and sea in an emerging charging infrastructure that is accessible for everyone, and with gradually more and more self-driving vehicles shared in a smart way, drastically reduced CO2 emissions will follow.