Svenska Elvägar


Frequently Asked Questions


Read Elväg backwards and you get Gävle!

What does ELVÄG stand for?

ELVÄG is the swedish shortname for "electrified road". If you read it backwards it becomes GÄVLE. The city of Gävle is the town were it all started.

Completed highways in Europe as of May 2014

How many highways are profitable to electrify in Europe?

According to our calculations; a road is economically profitable to electrify as soon as the flow of trucks are more than a truck a minute (1,440 daily truck passings). The vast majority of highways in Europe exceeds this truck flow with a good margin and some with a factor of 10. The map below shows the extent of completed motorway network in Europe (as of May 2014).

Can the system be used for more than to power trucks and buses?

An electric road transport system enables:

  • Charging facilities for passenger cars at rest areas.
  • Enhanced safety if street lighting is integrated.
  • Advanced information services to warn for accidents, bad weather and queues.

Are there any patents or intellectual properties that may threaten the expansion?

The technique of building the electric system is open and freely accessible. In the case of overhead line and power supply, the technology is already standardized by rail and trolley bus. Innovative components can be patented, i.e. an intelligent current collector/pantograph. However, there are a number of alternative designs that could be considered freely available. We believe that both new and existing providers will find new opportunities for product and service development. This will foster competition and expansion.

How far can trucks run without being connected?

An electric truck is a hybrid electric vehicle. It can be powered by both electricity and conventional fuels, such as biodiesel. This means that an electric truck has the same range as a conventional truck. In a future where more and more of the road network is electrified, the internal combustion engine will be phased out in favour of batteries.

How is the billing done?

Each vehicle has an electricity meter that measures the amount of energy consumed. Energy consumption is supplemented with information about the truck's location and at what time. This information is sent over the cellular network (or local network) to a billing central. A bill is sent to the fleet operator or truck owner. The billing system is similar to the ones used by all cell phone operators.

Is it not better to expand the railway than to invest in an entirely new transport system?

Railway and road transports complements each other and are not interchangeable. The market shares for railroad transports and road transports will not change substantially. Beside that, the lead time, the costs and the environmental footprint of establishing a new railway are of another magnitude. We will not have the time nor the money to replace the roads with railroads.

Trolleybuses already uses this concept, why has no one done it with trucks?

Trolley trucks have been present in closed industrial applications such as mines, factories and ports. Special trucks have served a certain route. What is new are an intelligent current collector/pantograph and a billing system. These innovations enable all trucks equipped with approved current collectors/pantographs and billing module to connect to the system as well as disconnecting and continue to run on conventional fuels such as biodiesel.

Trolleybuses already uses the electric road concept!

Is it not dangerous with overhead power lines?

Electrified roads will basically use the same technology as trams and trolleybuses. Voltage is aound 750 volts and is used in many cities around the world. If a line falls down or comes in contact with foreign matter, the power will turn of immediately. The risk of an electric shock is very small. A more troublesome risk is if a vehicle at high speed hits a downed overhead line. The system can warn vehicles approaching a fallen overhead line. The security issues need to be investigated and tested thoroughly before the system can be widely implemented.

Is it not ugly with overhead power lines?

Electrified roads can be compared visually with electrified railways and one can argue for and against. Is a road or rail at all aesthetically pleasing? Maybe we conclude that the overhead is ugly and that is the price we have to pay to reduce CO2 emissions. On the other hand, electrified roads compared to ordinary roads, graetly reduces the noise and smell!

Are there any other advantages of electric heavy vehicles?

Besides reducing CO2 emissions, noise and exhaust fumes are reduced locally. In the long term electric trucks offers several advantages:

  • Higher customer value (price / performance).
  • Lower total cost of ownwership due the lower costs of purchase, operation and maintenance.
  • Larger cargo capacity (volume and weight) per truck.
  • Stronger engines and more cost-effective transmission (including "all wheel drive").
  • better working environment for drivers (less noise, vibrations, etc.).
  • Secures haulage / freight buyer long term operations.
  • Strengthens CSR values of haulage contractors / freight buyers.

Wouldn't it be great if even passenger cars could be powered from the road?

A very small percentage of trips by car are long distance. US Department of Transportation, DOT, says that 75% of daily car trips in the U.S.) is less than 40 miles (60 km). This includes commuting which is at least two trips. If you look at individual trips (one trip at a time), Volkswagen, states that 97% of the trips are less than 150 km and Toyota states that 75% is less than 20 km. These trips are handled excellent by batteries. In addition, we estimate that the cost and environmental impact will be greater than the benefit to support passenger cars.

What is the potential for reducing CO2 emissions?

CO2 emissions from fossil fuels can be reduced by 10% in a country like Sweden if the main highways are electrified.

Are there more effective ways to save energy and reduce CO2?

Our overall assessment is that there are few, if any, actions enabling an equal reduction of energy consumtion and greenhouse gas emissions given same time period and an equal cost.

Which vehicles can be used?

Vehicles with a minimum height of about 3.8 meters can be used. Otherwise the current collector will be large, heavy and awkward. Trucks, trailer rigs, petrol and timber trucks as well as long distance coaches are examples.