Industry leaders and startup companies form innovative consortium to reduce carbon emission through electric road solutions
Technology leader ABB and infrastructure experts Holtab are joining with startups ElonRoad and renbloc to deliver electric road solutions. These smart roads would deliver electric charging power as vehicles drive on them and would monitor the CO2 footprint in real-time. Sweden is set to build its first ever permanent electric road on the E20 between Hallsberg and Örebro.
The investment in electric roads by the Swedish Transport Administration is part of the country’s goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions from freight traffic. Heavy vehicles account for a large part of road traffic's carbon dioxide emissions and making the switch to electric vehicles is a huge step towards the goal of fossil-free transports. The work on the planned procurement for the electric road including the choice of technology, continues and the goal is to have the 21 kilometres long electric road ready by 2025.
ABB, ElonRoad, Holtab and renbloc formed the consortium to highlight their respective capabilities in providing technology and infrastructure with the goal of being chosen as a partner to build the electric road on the E20. The solution from Elonroad would feature a conductive rail laid on top of the road or embedding the rail into the asphalt. A conductive pic up under the vehicle would connect to the electric rail via sliding contacts.
Holtab would supply the electrical distribution with intelligent low- and medium products from ABB. These smart products would link to the ABB Ability™ platform to collect data. Data would then directly link to Elonroad's control system, which would use the data to control the charge per vehicle in real-time. This would allow the consortium to offer charging subscriptions, adapt the charging to the available renewable energy in the grid and monitor CO2 footprint in real-time.
“Our vision is to be the enabler for climate positive transport. Reducing emissions in transports will bring great positive effects. Electric roads can accelerate the transition of electrification just like broadband was needed for digitalization” says Karin Ebbinghaus, CEO of Elonroad.
The choice of route, E20 Hallsberg – Örebro, was based on a number of criteria, such as road type, traffic volumes, transport arrangements and the surrounding natural and cultural environment. All these different variables allow for testing of many different traffic components at the same time, cutting costs and allowing for quicker time to market.
Equally as important as the traffic conditions when building and testing the first ever electric road is power supply and infrastructure. Building an electric road sets high demands on both infrastructure integrity as well as continuous electrical saturation, meaning that connection points to and from the grid need to be reliable and stable.
“ABB is a world leader in energy infrastructure solutions, and we see electric roads as a key element to creating a sustainable society. This solution builds upon the strengths of both industry and startup companies collaborating on one of the world’s most innovative charging in motion solutions. With the cloud-connected ABB Ability™ platform we can control and monitor the charging and energy mix in real-time”, says Mikael Miglis, Digital lead at ABB Electrification in Sweden.
The transport sector in Sweden accounts for about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the country, 16 million tonnes carbon dioxide equivalents a year. A shift to an electrified, CO2-free mode of transport would potentially reduce this to zero. When designing for an electric, fossil-free transportation, it is of vital importance to know that also the electricity is fossil-free.
“Real-time monitoring of your energy sources is the only way of shifting towards more renewable consumption. The days of false “100% green energy” claims are gone,” says Nils Söderström, CEO of renbloc. “We need to break with these old perceptions if we’re ever going to lower our energy emissions. With our technology electric vehicles will know exactly what type of energy they're getting, and the exact CO2 associated - down to the gram!“
Together ABB, ElonRoad, Holtab and renbloc are to offer a complete and unique solution that can be multiplied in and outside Sweden's borders offering a safe, smart and sustainable electric road with built-in digital innovations. Both the electric road with associated electrical infrastructure, and the digital services that enable an energy-optimized system can be delivered as a service.