The world’s first road that allows electric vehicles to recharge as they drive has been installed in Sweden.

Around 1.2 miles of electric rail has been built into a public road just outside Stockholm, and plans are in place to expand the project throughout other parts of the country and the world.

The electrified road works by transferring energy from the rail through a moveable arm on the bottom of an electric car or truck.

As the vehicle moves over the rail, the arm detects its location and moves into contact with it. When overtaking, the arm automatically raises.

The rail is connected to the power grid and divided into sections that are only powered when vehicles move over them.

Energy consumption of each vehicle passing over the rails is calculated by the system, enabling electricity costs to be charged to each user.

The electrified road is being trialled using electrified trucks that have been developed as part of the project. 

“One of the most important issues of our time is the question of how to make fossil-free road transportation a reality,” said Hans Säll, chairman of the eRoadArlanda consortium, which is responsible for the project.

“We now have a solution that will make this possible, which is amazing.”

“Sweden is at the cutting edge of this technology, which we now hope to introduce in other areas of the country and the world.”

The advantage of electrifying roads is that existing infrastructure can have its energy consumption and carbon emissions reduced with minimal modification.  

weden is already a world leader in clean energy, and in 2015 Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced his country would move towards becoming “one of the first fossil fuel-free welfare states in the world”.

The project being run by eRoadArlanda is one of several attempts by the Swedish Transport Administration, a government agency, to create electrified roads.

It is part of a wider effort by the Swedish government to make the country’s transport infrastructure completely fossil fuel-free by 2030. As it stands, road traffic accounts for a third of Sweden’s carbon emissions.

“It is important to break new ground when it comes to climate-smart road transport,” said Lena Erixon, director general of the administration.

“That’s why the Swedish Transport Administration supports innovative development projects that contribute to long-term, sustainable solutions.”

Those behind the initiative estimate that only the major routes – around 3 per cent of the total road network – would need to be modified to considerably cut carbon emissions. Shorter journeys between these major routes could be undertaken using vehicles’ stored battery power.