Strategic investment on research and innovation for electric road systems

Electric Road Systems (ERS) are being demonstrated on public roads in Sweden, but how to make the step to large scale operation? How will the business ecosystem work and how can interfaces be standardized? These and other questions will be explored within a project executed by a “Research and Innovation Platform for Electric Roads”, which has been granted funding of 19 MSEK in total from the Swedish Program for Strategic Vehicle Research and Innovation (FFI) and the Swedish Transport Administration. An industry contribution of 8 MSEK gives a total investment of 27 MSEK during a period ending in 2019.

In order for a successful introduction of ERS there is a need to build a supporting and strong innovation system. The purpose of the project is to strengthen the Swedish and Nordic research and innovation resources by building a joint knowledge base in cooperation between institutes, universities, authorities, industry, and demonstration sites.

The result will include clarification of the socio-economic conditions, benefits and other effects of ERS from different actors’ perspectives. Various implementation strategies will be evaluated and success factors will be identified. An international cooperation will be established and provide a basis for dialogue on future standards and regulations. The project will work closely with ongoing ERS demonstrations in Sweden. The industry is participating as partners in the project and as members of an extensive reference group.

Chalmers, KTH, the Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics, the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), the Swedish Transport Administration, and Viktoria Swedish ICT will conduct the research. Fortum, Profu, Scania, Vattenfall and Volvo Group are industry partners. Airport City Stockholm, Region Gävleborg, and Region Kalmar participate with their interest for future deployment. The project is managed and coordinated by Viktoria Swedish ICT.

“The various parts of electric road systems have been developed in several research projects over quite some time. Technology demonstrations are ongoing along the E16 road at Sandviken and being prepared between Arlanda Airport and Rosersberg Logistics area. Our goal is to gather and build knowledge about ERS in order to answer some of the considerable questions that remain”, says Håkan Sundelin, Project Manager at Viktoria Swedish ICT.

“We are about to secure the technical solutions needed for electric roads and electric vehicles”, says Torbjörn Holmström, Volvo Group Chief Technology Officer. “In order to reach a full scale implementation a series of other questions needs to be solved, e.g. on business models and electrical infrastructure. This research and innovation platform is important since it unites actors from different fields in order to find the needed solutions.”

“The right business conditions need to be established to make Electric Road Systems a widespread reality. This cooperation gives us a good platform to do that”, says Claes Erixon, Executive Vice President and Head of Research & Development at Scania.

“Electric roads is a powerful innovation for future transports. It is an environmental and economical viable solution for both transport operators and fleet owners as well as for regions, where the benefits of an electric road can provide both increased economic growth and improved quality of life”, says Magnus Ernström, Regional Development Strategist at Region Gävleborg.

“Electric roads can provide good availability in an fossil independent society, but we need to improve our understanding to ensure a positive development in Sweden. The research within the project will provide knowledge about the effects, terms and conditions of electric roads. This knowledge will provide an complement to the information given from the ongoing electric road demonstrations and the development within the industry. Together it will form the basis for future decisions”, says Anders Berndtsson, Chief Strategist at the Swedish Transport Administration.