Sweden introduces Scalextric-style electric roads

First public highway opens to allow electric vehicles to charge on the go

Did anyone ever manage to get their Scalextric car round the track without skidding off and ramming into the skirting board? No?

If you’re not old enough to even know what Scalextric is, it’s a slot-car racing toy that used metal contact points between the car and the track to power it round. Now the Swedish Transport Administration has created a new project to make those frayed and unreliable copper metal brushes a reality.

As part of the country’s goals of achieving a completely fossil-fuel free vehicle fleet by 2030, the eRoadArlanda has been created to allow both commercial and passenger electric vehicles to recharge while driving.

The electric road works by transferring energy from a rail in the road to the vehicle, connected by an adjustable arm. The arm detects the location of the rail automatically, taking power from a conductor that powers just a short section of the track at a time. The road has been tested in rain and snow, while drainage systems take care of rain. The arm sweeps out gravel and excess water, too, while the gap is small enough to not cause problems for motorbikes or cyclists.

The 2km test road outside Stockholm Arlanda airport will be tested primarily by trucks – which would save on the huge battery size and capacity needed to power cross-country cargo fleets. Eventually, the voltage takeover could be extended to over 20,000km (12,427 miles) of road, at a bargain $1.2 million per kilometre to build. A huge step forward in electric car infrastructure – and hopefully more reliable then the living room floor version. Watch the introductory video in the gallery above.