Sweden opened the world’s first section of electrified road to the public, but it didn’t come cheap.
The 1.2 miles of electrified roadway cost around $2.5 million, according to reports. Sweden built the roads as part of its global warming goal of reducing transportation sector emissions 70 percent by 2030.
With more than 310,000 miles of roads in Sweden, including 12,427 miles of highway, electrifying all of them would be an incredibly costly proposition. It’s cheaper than expanding public transit, but still expensive.
What’s also not reported is the cost of maintaining and electrifying the roads, which can be used by electric cars to recharge as they drive over it. The consortium behind the project said traditional gas-powered cars may also be able to use the road to recharge their batteries, according to the group that built the road.
“There is no electricity on the surface,” Hans Säll, CEO of eRoadArlanda, told The Guardian. “There are two tracks, just like an outlet in the wall.”
“Five or six centimeters down is where the electricity is,” he said. “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.”
Obviously, hybrid and electric vehicles would benefit from rechargeable roads the most, though they only make up a small share of Sweden’s vehicle fleet. Swedes purchased more than 50,000 light-duty hybrid and electric vehicles since 2011.
However, hybrid and electric vehicles only made up 5.2 percent of total passenger car registrations in 2017. And that’s with generous electric vehicle subsidies.