Sweden opens world's first electric motorway

Electric power lines enable Scania hybrid trucks to drive towards fossil-free transportation

Sweden opens world's first electric motorway
The hybrid Scania G 380.


Sweden’s E16 motorway has become the world’s first electric road after its official opening overnight.

A culmination of work from the private sector and local government, the 2km strip of Swedish motorway has been fitted with overhanging power lines that feed electronic vehicles travelling underneath.

Pushing the technology, Scania celebrated the opening by driving one of the company’s hybrid trucks down the motorway outside the city of Gävle.

Operating in a similar manner to a tram, the vehicles use conductive technology, produced by Siemens, to extend skyward and connect with the overhanging wires.

The first Scania hybrid model to travel down the stretch of road using the overhead power lines was a 9-tonne G 360, powered by a 9-litre biofuel engine and a 130kW (1,050Nm) electric motor.  

Featuring a diesel engine to travel outside the new electrified motorway, the truck also includes a Li-Ion 5 kWh battery enabling it to travel up to 3km on stored electricity.

The overhead power lines are also limited to one lane on the motorway, making the vehicle switch to its combustion engine when overtaking.

While it may be a 2km section, Scania’s head of research and development Claes Erixon says it is the first step.

"The electric road is one important milestone on the journey towards fossil-free transport," he says.

"Scania is committed to the success of this project and is committed to sustainable transport solutions."

Backed by the Swedish government, Scania says it is targeting an energy-efficient and fossil-free vehicle fleet by 2030 and sees electrification as a platform to work from.

Responsible for the truck maker’s research into electrification, Nils-Gunnar Vågstedt says "the potential fuel savings through electrification are considerable and the technology can become a cornerstone for fossil-free road transport services."




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