A four-year electric road research project is being conducted in Sweden, led by Solna-based Elways, and funded by the Swedish Transport Administration (Trafikverket). As an alternative to overhead electric wires, or ruggedized solar panels that have been buried in the road, this project has developed electrical rails in the roadway that allow vehicles to charge while driving.
Elways, and its project partner, Swedish construction company NCC, have built an electrified truck equipped with the necessary electronics and power pick-up arm to charge from a 200m test track near Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. The project partners are now in the process of extending the test zone to a 1km long stretch of road between and the Rosersberg logistics hub, with a view to retrofitting trucks shuttling between the two destinations with the technology.
One of the many technologies that have been developed by Elways is a movable power collector arm that when triggered, lowers to make contact with an electric rail in a trench below the road surface when the track is available. Charging is by conductive electricity transfer, either direct or to a battery.
Finland-based Kvaser Technical Associate, TKE Engineering Oy and its Swedish partner, Indizio Solutions AB from Umeå, developed the control system for maneuvering the contact arm. TKE produced a first prototype for Elways that consisted of a mobile Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) and sensors controlled by CAN, plus education in control system design. Commented Timo Kesti, CEO of Indizio Solutions: “We provided quite a lot of initial control system expertise aimed at shortening their learning curve, including practical CAN physical layer guidance, configuring baud rates for the PLC, CoDeSys-programming and education in CANopen and J1939 protocols, so that Elways could build a CANopen network according to the standard.“