Back to the future in Sweden

The world's first electric highway is set to open in Sweden

The world’s first electric highway is set to open in Sweden this week.

The 2km stretch of the E16 road between Kungsgården and Sandviken in Gästrikland, Sweden, has been equipped with poles holding up electricity cables at 60 feet intervals.

Based on tram technology that has existed for more than 120 years, this is the first time a similar investment has been made for heavy transport vehicles on a public road.

Scania-built trucks fitted with special pantographs will run in normal traffic to evaluate the electricity infrastructure, which has been created by Siemens, one of the project’s main sponsors.

The truck's pantograph can connect automatically at speeds of up to 90km/h. When the truck leaves the electrical network, it returns to its regular diesel hybrid mode.

Watch a video showing how the technology works here

The £10 million Elväg Gavle demonstration project, which officially opens tomorrow (June 22) and runs until December 2017, is a collaboration between industry, academia and government.

The long-term aim is to create the knowledge and experience for the possible electrification of all major transport routes in Sweden.