Smartroad Gotland is a unique pre-commercial demonstration project with the purpose of building knowledge for the future electricity roads. This is done by implementing an inductive electric road, compatible with all types of vehicles in Visby, Sweden. The project is implemented by the consortium for Smartroad Gotland, under the leadership of Electreon AB. This world leading technique have created an opportunity to massively reduce the need for fossil fuels and simultaneously decrease air and noise pollution in urban areas.
Why is the project located on Gotland?
Gotland, Sweden, is already a region with good conditions for leading the development of the future energy system with access to solar energy, water and wind power. Apart from this, Gotland is an innovation hub where private, public and civilian actors meet. The climate there further enables the technology to be tested under different road surfaces such as slip and snow. To sum, both the environmental and social conditions makes the Gotland region an excellent place to locate the demonstration project.
Why has the route between central Visby and the airport been chosen?
The 4.1 km long electric road (of which 1.2 km of active charge) connects the airport with central Visby on Gotland. The route is divided into three sections to be able to verify the technology under dynamic road conditions. This means that the route contains straight sections, curves and adjoins a roundabout, which enables tests to identify how the system works when vehicles need to accelerate and reduce speed. The route is also chosen because it enabled collaboration with several relevant actors, including the Flygbussarna, which has meant that the electric bus will be able to be put into regular operation.
Why is it called "Smartroad"?
The name of the project originates from the technology, because the system and functions really is smart. The infrastructure is completely passive under the road until a vehicle passes over a coil, and the vehicle is identified as an approved receiver of energy. Not until then the first energy transfer starts. This identification is takes place meters by meter, as the infrastructure in each segment is switched on or off within microseconds. This makes the infrastructure harmless to people and animals in the vicinity of the road. No electromagnetic field hits the person passing the road walking, cycling or in another vehicle. To add, the availability of real-time data means that the system is uniquely easy to monitor, both for security, technical errors and for being able to control a flexible use in queuing or similar.
When is the electric road ready?
The work will begin in April 2019 and the first part will be completed for use by the end of 2019. The electric bus will be put into operation during the summer of 2020.
What happens when the demonstration project is completed?
After the project has been completed, the route will be demolished based on the approval of the excavation permit. The control units will be removed and the coil segments are intended to be left below grown, but this is something that will be investigated in detail during the project. All materials that are disassembled are recycled or reused if possible.
What are the main challenges?
One central challenge is to verify and increase the degree of maturity of the technology, as the project is the first of its kind. It is crucial to scale up the production from lab scale to mass production and in the project we move from tests in the laboratory to being applied in operation. Another challenge is to conclude that no radiation interferes with the surroundings. The safety requirements are high, and the proximity to the airport means that there is a requirement not to interfere with radio traffic and other technical systems.
Continuous demonstration of effective interaction and good cooperation between parties is central to the project members, and to enable wireless electricity paths in the future. To reduce the risk of public concern, a project group has been created. The group are working with double-sided and proactive transparency. By involving the public at an early stage the project group responds to their concerns, and simultaneously provides relevant information to the public regarding how the work is going.
What do residents think about the road construction?
As the inductive electric road is expected to have a minimal impact on the environment, residents in the area are generally expected to have a positive attitude. Further, and in the long term, electricity routes reduce both local emissions and noise, which benefits residents.
Additionally, the public are in an early stage included in dialogue with the project group, to create trust and to avoid misunderstandings. Smartroad Gotland will in the beginning of June 2019 invite the local community in Visby to a first information meeting. This meeting is a platform where the public can express their views, raise concern and get answers to their questions. A communication plan has been developed to maintain contact with various stakeholders. Newsletters, regular meetings and social media are some channels the project use to provide residents and other stakeholders with updated, relevant information.
Is the road dangerous?
Not at all, because the electric road is developed so that it is only activated when a licensed vehicle passes over the coils of the road. This means that the technology is otherwise completely passive and will never transfer energy or radiation to unlicensed vehicles or to passing people and animals. A thorough safety work has been carried out in advance to identify safety routines, check the technology for power transmission and to ensure that the technology is neither harmful to people or to the environment.
How much does the infrastructure cost?
This project is a collaboration between public and private parties, with a total budget of 116 MSEK, out of which 91MSEK was financed by the Swedish Transport Administration, and the rest of the supplying parties. The technology is designed to be cost effective for both larger and smaller scales, where the current goal is to achieve a cost per kilometer of $ 500K. The system is based on a "design to cost" method, which reduces costs over time.
How much power can be transferred?
The power transmission is regulated depending on how much energy the receiver on the electric vehicle has, on the coils in the ground and dependent on the control unit. The system will adapt the power transmission to ensure energy efficiency and energy security. The maximum power transmission per receiver on a vehicle is 25 kW. However, a heavy vehicle can have several receivers. The effect is adapted to be suitable for the entire scale from passenger cars to very heavy vehicles.
Why should it be wireless?
The technology transmits energy wirelessly through a device placed under the asphalt to charge the battery or to operate the vehicle. The wireless technology makes the system cost effective, flexible and so that it does not interfere with the physical environment.