Electric roads as future road transport : A study of Electric Road System (ERS) to facilitate sustainable road transport for passenger cars
Abstract: Sweden is a geographically large and sparsely populated country, with a need for road transport for individuals as well as for logistics. Domestic road transport largely contributes to air pollutions, where passenger cars account for the largest share. Looking ahead, the present rate of reduction of emissions is not enough to reach the climate targets of a fossil free transport sector. Electric road system (ERS) has emerged to deal with drawbacks of electric vehicles. Several solutions are being evaluated at demonstration projects. Until now, ERS is mainly associated with heavy vehicles and the relation to passenger cars is not as clear, where this study explores the social advantages of ERS and passenger cars. A case study is conducted, where an ERS implementation between Helsingborg and Malmö as part of the European route E6 in Sweden is modelled. The NPV with an economic lifespan of 20 years and an interest rate of 3.5 percent amounts to 350 MSEK, considered as high profitable. The CO2 emissions of the studied system would be reduced by 102 000 tonnes CO2, corresponding to a decrease of about 60 percent. Looking at the studied system, heavy trucks are contributing to the most impact. Nevertheless, there is great potential for passenger cars utilising ERS to decrease their emissions and fuel costs. Several semi-structured interviews have been conducted to highlight the prevailing views of ERS and passenger cars and the impact of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) for decision-making of transport investments. Several diverse views of ERS and passenger cars exist. ERS is a large investment, where the main need is among heavy vehicles. However, the profitability would increase as the amount of vehicles utilising ERS increases. In a future road transport system, it is possible that several technologies such as ERS, fast chargers and autonomous vehicles could be utilised simultaneous, and complete each other rather than being substitutes. It is conceivable that ERS is planned out of the needs of heavy vehicles, where passenger cars might benefit of the system as well. More passenger cars would likely utilise ERS as it is implemented to a greater extent. Further, CBA could provide a perception of the investment. However, it does not ensure that the projects are performed or chosen out of highest NPV, since several aspects besides the profitability are considered. Available information of ERS for CBA is yet limited and more data, such as effect relations is needed to facilitate well-founded decisions. In the future, it is likely that CBA of transport investments would become more complex, where several technologies would be considered. The transport sector will most likely alter, and existing assessment methods will presumably be adjusted in line with this.
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